Rector Robert D. Hardie
by James A. Bacon
A week ago The Jefferson Council publicly questioned the decision to withhold publication of the investigation into the University’s failure to prevent the Nov. 13, 2022, mass shooting. We were particularly perplexed by who made the decision to delay release of the report until after the trial of the defendant Christopher Jones. The decision, announced by Rector Robert D. Hardie and President Jim Ryan, apparently was made without the approval of the Board of Visitors. (See “Will the Public Ever Get to See the Mass Shooting Report?“)
Now, as reported by The Daily Progress, others are asking questions.
The Daily Progress leads with the question, “Who exactly is the University of Virginia protecting?”
The newspaper quotes John Fishwick, former U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia: “Whenever you have a public university with such a tragic event, it’s important for the public to know what happened. I think they should release it immediately.”
“Are they hiding something? I don’t know,” Michael Haggard, an attorney for the families of the victims, told The Daily Progress. “But I know one way you can stop the speculation on it: Release it to the families like you promised.” Continue reading
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr.
by James A. Bacon
The University of Virginia will delay a release of an external investigation into the Nov. 13, 2022, mass shooting that resulted in three deaths and two woundings until after the trial of Christopher Jones, the UVa student charged with the crime.
“After conferring with counselors and Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Hingeley, we have decided that we need to wait until after the criminal proceedings to release further information,” President James Ryan said in a statement appearing Friday on UVa Today. “Making the reports public at this time, or even releasing a summary of their findings and recommendations, could have an impact on the criminal trial of the accused, either by disrupting the case being prepared by the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney, or by interfering with the defendant’s right to a fair trial before an impartial jury.”
Rector Robert Hardie supported the delay. Speaking for the Board of Visitors, he said, “We agree that we should postpone the release of further information until the criminal prosecution is complete to avoid interfering with or complicating the proceedings.”
“This development is disappointing,” responded Tom Neale, president of the Jefferson Council. “The quintuple shooting is one of the most traumatic events to ever occur at UVa, and the university community has a right to know what went wrong. What assurance do we have that the actions the University has taken to improve safety actually address the problems identified in the report? How do we know a similar breakdown won’t occur again?” Continue reading
Robyn Hadley. Photo credit: University of Virginia
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. Continue reading