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A Message from President Rao on Safety and Inclusiveness

Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017

To the VCU and VCU Health community,

Events in Charlottesville and other places have brought to light our immediate responsibility to ensure and communicate about the safety, security and inclusiveness of our campuses.

VCU Police Chief Venuti and his staff are working closely with regional law enforcement and safety officials including Richmond Police Department, Virginia State Police and Capitol Police to keep our community safe. 

Senior leadership is engaged at every level, starting at the top with me, regarding safety, security and social climate issues. Students and their parents, faculty and staff have expressed concern about the impact of national and regional protests and especially the focus on Confederate symbolism given Richmond’s history as the capitol of the Confederacy.

As always, we will continue to proactively communicate safety information so that students, faculty and staff are well informed.

I also have directed members of my senior leadership team, in consultation with faculty, students and community members, to conduct a comprehensive audit of our campuses to determine what symbols of the Confederacy, slavery, white supremacy or other items of an exclusionary nature may exist at VCU and what the future of any such items may be. This includes statues, plaques, building and facility names and other honorific symbols. We will also be looking at applicable policies and procedures.
 
Throughout this process, we will be guided by the core values of our university community, which include commitments to inclusion, free speech and civil discourse.

We will keep you updated as we learn more.

Sincerely,

Michael Rao
President, VCU and VCU Health System