Robyn Hadley, the University of Virginia’s dean of students, will leave her job effective Aug. 1, announced President Jim Ryan and Provost Ian Baucom yesterday in a letter to the university community.
The letter provided no explanation for Hadley’s sudden departure. Hadley had served two years in the position, which oversees 300 employees engaged with student life. She supervised key functions such as the Office of African-American affairs, the career center, student housing, student health, fraternity-sorority life, event planning, and facilities operations.
“Since she came to the University in the summer of 2021, Robyn has led Student Affairs with grace and determination, even in the face of enormous challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and the tragic shootings of Nov. 13, 2022,” wrote Ryan and Baucom. “Through it all, she has demonstrated the professionalism, wisdom, and deep care for our students for which she will be remembered here at UVA. We are grateful to Robyn and her team for all they have achieved these past few years.”
The letter contained no statement from Hadley herself.
The abruptness of Hadley’s departure, the lack of explanation, and the absence of any quote from her expressing appreciation for her time at UVa immediately prompted a surge of speculation. Why is she leaving? Why is there no explanation for why she is leaving? Why the short notice of less than two weeks?
Speculation centers on possible fallout from the Attorney General’s inquiry into the triple murder of three University of Virginia football players last fall.
Among other red flags, the alleged shooter, Chris Jones, was found to have been stashing weapons in his dormitory room in violation of university policy. But he was never disciplined, even as other students were chastised for far less serious offenses. Questions have persisted about how the administration assessed the potential threat. Attorney General Jason Miyares said an inquiry by law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan would proceed with “all deliberate speed.” That investigation, announced in November, is now in its eighth month. The law firm is expected to publish a report on its findings.