General

Invitation to a Community Conversation for July 10, 2017

By Martin Davidson-
invitation-to-a-community-conversation-for-july-10-2017

To: Faculty, Staff and Students

Subject: Invitation to a Community Conversation

Message From Dean Scott Beardsley and Senior Associate Dean and Global Chief Diversity Officer Martin Davidson

Dear Darden Faculty, Staff and Students:

At Darden, we strive to build and sustain a resilient, diverse and inclusive community. From time to time, events occur that provide us an opportunity to practice what those words mean. One such event will take place this weekend. Members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in North Carolina, plan to hold a rally in Charlottesville on Saturday, 8 July. The stated purpose of their rally is to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park. The nature of such a gathering makes it likely that tensions in and around the rally will run high. The leadership at Darden agrees with President Sullivan’s recent message, published on UVA Today and included at the end of this note, and we echo her denunciation of the rally in the strongest terms.

At Darden, living the principles of resilience, diversity and inclusion is not solely about confronting ideologies of hatred and racism like those that may be on display this weekend. We condemn those ideologies, make no mistake. We also use these events as occasions to learn and to strengthen our community. Like our larger society, Darden is a work in progress. Often, disturbing incidents take place in the world and we fail to seize the moments to talk with one another about them.  We tend to go about the day “business as usual,” ignoring the fact that many of us feel the distressing impact of such incidents, whether they occur across the globe or — as in this case — in our hometown.

The rally this weekend presents an important moment for us to exchange thoughts about — and share reactions to — what transpires.  Please come together for a community conversation on Monday, July 10, in the South Lounge from 3–4 p.m. Martin Davidson will facilitate the discussion. Dean Scott Beardsley will attend virtually.

This will be a chance to speak, listen and learn. Being present with one another is how we form a habit of having healthy, frank and constructive conversations together. We create stronger bonds as members of a professional and educational community, bonds that serve as critical building blocks for a more inclusive Darden.

All voices matter in this conversation, and we hope you will join in.

Scott Beardsley
Dean, University of Virginia Darden School of Business

Martin Davidson
Senior Associate Dean and Global Chief Diversity Officer

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University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan on Tuesday, 27 June, issued the following message to the University community regarding a scheduled Ku Klux Klan rally on July 8 in Charlottesville. The message can also be found on UVA Today.

 To the University community:

Members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in North Carolina, plan to hold a rally in Charlottesville on July 8. The stated purpose of their rally is to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park.

The KKK represents ideologies of hatred and exclusion that run directly counter to the principles of mutual respect, diversity, and inclusion that we espouse and uphold at our University. The KKK has a long history of racial violence and murder. As a unified community, we condemn the detestable beliefs of the KKK as well as the group’s message of intolerance and hate.

We also support the First Amendment and the principle of free speech, and we know that the members of this group have the right to assemble and speak. We abhor their beliefs, yet we recognize their right to express those beliefs in a public forum, and the City of Charlottesville plans to protect their right to do so.

I urge UVA community members to avoid the rally and avoid confrontation on July 8. To listen and respond to these outsiders would only call more attention to their viewpoint and create the publicity that they crave. Instead, I encourage you to support the alternative events that Charlottesville leaders are planning.  These tentatively include a program at the Jefferson School African-American Center and a community picnic at Ix Art Park. Details are available here. The Albemarle-Charlottesville chapter of the NAACP and other organizations are planning additional events for the community.

There is irony in the timing of the KKK rally, which falls only four days after Independence Day, when we celebrate our nation’s hard-won freedom and our founding belief that all people are created equal and entitled to unalienable human rights. As a community, let’s remain confident that the voice of justice and equality will drown out the voice of hatred in the end.

Teresa A. Sullivan
President