The university community stands together at the dawn of a new school year

Photo by Eze Amos

People in Charlottesville like to talk about the UVA bubble. We can’t argue with that—between classes and clubs and activities and jobs, not all university students get off Grounds and out into the city. Some do, though, and plenty of faculty and staff are active members of the Charlottesville community, too.

But after Friday, August 11, when white supremacists, neo-Nazis and KKK members marched on UVA Grounds the night before they marched through the city, threatening students just as they did locals, that bubble started leaking some air.

From those who stood their ground near the Rotunda, looking out for each other and distracting torch-wielding white supremacists from marching on a nearby church, to a young journalist who spent a week covering the events at UVA so her fellow students could stay informed, UVA students, faculty and staff are lending their voices to the conversation in a major way.

Although UVA and Charlottesville are different, in many ways—particularly in the challenges both communities face going forward as they confront the past and rebuild together—they have an awful lot in common.

Reclaiming their Grounds: UVA students and the community retrace white nationalists’ steps

The Lawn was illuminated in soft white candlelight the night of August 16, as thousands of community members retraced the steps of the August 11 white nationalist tiki torch march from the University of Virginia’s Nameless Field to the Rotunda. Their message was one of love and peace, and taking back what belongs to them.

“I think it’s important after what happened,” says UVA fourth-year nursing student Talia Sion. “It’s a message of positivity, light and hope. We love Charlottesville, we love our community, and we’re reclaiming our Grounds.”

Sion wasn’t in town for the alt-right’s August 12 Unite the Right rally, but she says she was “horrified” as she watched the violent scenes playing out in her college town. “It’ll definitely affect our community, but as students, we take it and it makes us stronger. We grow from it.”

Sion, a Jewish student, marched with third-year Truman Brody-Boyd, who also practices Judaism.

Brody-Boyd, who usually wears a kippah, says he helped facilitate first-year orientation this summer, and no more than three weeks ago, he recalls telling a group of incoming students how welcoming the Charlottesville community is.

“I’ve never felt uncomfortable,” he says. “I’ve never felt unsafe. To see all of that come crashing down last weekend was an incredible wake-up call.”

Photo by Eze Amos

Watching from Williamsburg as the “terrifying” events unfolded, Brody-Boyd says he felt “powerless” and that marching the same steps that hate took less than a week ago was the first step of “repairing and rebuilding.”

He’s been in town since Monday, August 14, and had planned to move into his Jewish fraternity house Sunday, August 13, until the national chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi decided to close it for the weekend. The morning of Tuesday, August 15, he says his fraternity brothers met with a security adviser who showed them which windows and doors to reinforce.

“It made me feel more confident, but it’s sad that it needs to occur,” he says. “I feel safe and secure again.”

On the south side of the Rotunda, facing the Lawn, people sang, “Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend,” while some continued to march around to the front, where hundreds of white nationalists had surrounded and assaulted approximately two dozen protesters who linked arms around the Thomas Jefferson statue last Friday. It took nearly an hour for the entire crowd to walk the route from start to finish. Later in the evening, groups sang “Oh Freedom!,” “Stand By Me,” “God Bless America” and “The Good Old Song.”

On the north side of the Rotunda, a man with a short gray braid burned sage as people took photos and video with their phones. Alumnae Javona Braxton and Nadia Anderson, who were roommates at the university in the late 1990s and currently serve as advisers to black UVA students, stood together near the Jefferson statue. Both wore UVA shirts. “We were concerned,” says Anderson, “not sure exactly what to do, but we wanted to be here and be a part of it, so we prayed and we got on the road” from Richmond.

“This is like our second home, so to see the attack of hate that was here was disturbing,” Braxton says. Knowing that students had to return to Grounds to start the fall semester, “we couldn’t be fearful to come back” as alumni, Braxton says. “We won’t back down to hate.”

The marchers placed their dripping candles at the foot of the statue, where a poster of Tyler Magill—the University of Virginia library employee who feared for the students’ safety and joined them and later suffered a stroke August 15 from injuries sustained that night at the Rotunda—sat among the flames.

Only one word was written on the sign: “Resist.”—Samantha Baars and Erin O’Hare

UVA responds

University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan addressed questions August 15 about the torchlight march in a message to the UVA community. The university does not require permits to gather in its state-owned outdoor spaces, where candles—and tiki torches—are not prohibited.

“Law enforcement became aware late Friday afternoon from social media posts that there was a possibility of protesters gathering at the Rotunda later that evening,” she says.

Photo by Dan Addison / UVA University Communications

Police were given misleading details and told the white nationalists would gather at Nameless Field and march up University Avenue, Sullivan says. Instead, they went up McCormick Road and onto the Lawn.

An alert was not issued because of the “short duration of the physical altercation,” she says. “There was a compelling interest in not attracting more protesters and heightened violence.”

On August 18, one week after the KKKesque march through Grounds, Sullivan named law school Dean Risa Goluboff to chair a group of deans and others to determine the next steps in the university’s response to being used as a backdrop to hate.

“As a member of this community, and also a civil rights historian and legal scholar, I can think of no more important task at this moment,” writes Goluboff in a message to the Cavalier community.

Among the group’s tasks will be to explore legal options to events that can be forbidden on Grounds, and to hire an outside security firm to conduct a comprehensive review and propose recommendations for security and safety improvements.

Says Goluboff, “President Sullivan’s charge to our group was one of recovery and response. That is exactly right. We must recover from violence, from bigotry, from vulnerability. We must heal.”—Lisa Provence

Standing together: UVA students refused to back down from the face of hate 

On the evening of Friday, August 11, a group of about 20 students from colleges and universities across the commonwealth, all still on summer break, got together for dinner. After dinner, they’d planned to go to St. Paul’s Memorial Church on University Avenue, where hundreds of people, including clergy, had gathered to pray and collect their thoughts in advance of Saturday’s Unite the Right rally.

All that changed, though, when they heard from a friend, who found out via social media, that Unite the Right rally organizer, Charlottesville resident and former University of Virginia student Jason Kessler intended to lead a torchlight march from Nameless Field through Grounds to the Rotunda.

Once these students learned about the march, they knew they had to be there. “We’ve admired and looked up to people who have stood up to hate in history, and it was just not a question—we had to do the same,” says M., a UVA student and Charlottesville native who agreed to speak with C-VILLE on the condition of anonymity.

“We didn’t exactly put out a call to arms,” M. says, “but I don’t think it crossed our minds to rally more people. I think we expected more people just to show up on their own,” especially because the torchlight march was public knowledge at that point.

At around 9:30pm, the students arrived at the Rotunda steps facing University Avenue. “It was eerily quiet,” M. says. She and her fellow students, plus a few antifa folks who had heard about the march as well, were the only people she saw on the plaza. Soon, they heard a roar from down the street that “sounded like hundreds of men,” M. recalls. A signal the march had begun. “I knew it was coming, but it was still terrifying,” she says.

The 20 or so students linked arms around the base of the statue—they only just made it around—and called for some onlookers to join them. A few students clutched a bed-sheet banner that read, “VA Students Act Against White Supremacy.” Antifa on the scene handed out baseball caps to the students, to help protect their identities and avoid future harassment from the alt-right.

“It stings to see people criticizing [the antifa] for violence, because they were really the only people who protected us” that night, says M., who was one of the banner holders.

M. didn’t look over the banner in front of her as the tiki-torch carrying white supremacists marched down the Rotunda steps, screaming “white lives matter!” as they flooded the plaza and surrounded the students. “The moment my heart dropped was when I could no longer hear the people next to me, or myself,” says M. “They were so loud.”

At one point, Curry School professor Walt Heinecke and Dean of Students Allen Groves ran into the crowd and offered to help the students, but they chose to stand their ground for a bit longer. After a few minutes, a fight broke out on one side of the statue. “I thought it was going to be a stampede because there were so many people,” says M., but someone in the circle yelled, “Don’t run!”

The students stood at the base of the statue, arms linked, for a few more minutes until dispersing for safety reasons—pepper spray and some other sort of chemical had been dispersed; there was fire; tiki torches were used as weapons. The students found their designated buddies and pushed their way out of the crowd around the statue, M. says. Some students flushed their pepper spray-swollen eyes with water; others needed help rinsing chemicals from their backs. M. estimates the entire thing happened over the course of 20 minutes.

The white nationalists who marched from Nameless Field to the Rotunda statue with tiki torches Friday, August 11, surrounded a group of UVA students that linked arms around the Jefferson statue in nonviolent protest. © Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press

All the while, the people in St. Paul’s across the street were kept in the church on lockdown, and other students, unaware of what was happening just steps away, were at bars on the Corner like it was any other Friday night in Charlottesville.

By about 10:30pm, police had shown up, declared an unlawful assembly and disbanded the crowd; folks were allowed out of St. Paul’s by about 11pm. It was a lot to process, but “none of us let it sink in,” M. says. “We just had to keep the momentum going” for the next day.

Saturday morning, this same group of students was back at it, first walking with the clergy from the Jefferson School to Emancipation Park, then participating in a musical protest that set out at about 10:45am from The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative to Emancipation Park, where the Unite the Right rally was set to take place at noon. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency at 11:28am; police declared an unlawful assembly by 11:37am.

For M., this felt very personal. “I’ve walked these streets since I could walk, and to see my hometown transform into this war was…I couldn’t process it at the time,” she says, her eyes welling up. She focused on staying with her friends during the Unite the Right rally and avoiding weapons and water bottles full of urine being tossed in and out of the park. Later in the day, she and other students were marching on Fourth Street SE when the car attack by a white nationalist that killed Heather Heyer happened. Some students were injured when the car plowed into the group of peaceful protesters.

On Sunday, M. went to her part-time service industry job.

The following Wednesday, August 16, many UVA students, faculty, staff, alumni and Charlottesville residents gathered for a student-organized candlelight vigil to retrace the route of Friday’s torchlight rally. M. and other students who were present at the Rotunda Friday night stayed home.

“The image of flames on the Lawn is very triggering to all of us. …And to re-walk the routes felt, just, very off. Very off,” says M. Plenty of students and community members felt a sense of community at the vigil, and M. is glad for that, “but it did sting to hear that they were celebrating UVA and this community when we felt so abandoned Friday,” she says.

M. doesn’t feel as deserted by her peers as she does UVA’s administration. “I don’t see a responsibility of my peers, a duty for them, necessarily. I hope that what they see would enrage them enough to speak out. …I’m not saying I’ve given up on them. But I see the administration as having an actual responsibility to protect us.

“One administrator and one professor showed up [on Friday],” M. says, noting that University of Virginia library employee Tyler Magill, who later suffered a stroke from injuries sustained at the Rotunda that night, was there as well. “That’s it. It shouldn’t have been that way,” she says.—Erin O’Hare

From the front lines: Cav Daily senior associate news editor shares her story

On Sunday, August 13, third-year University of Virginia student Alexis Gravely woke with the smell of pepper spray and tear gas in her nose.

It wasn’t a total surprise for Gravely, senior associate news editor for the Cavalier Daily, a student newspaper at UVA, who’d spent the entire week before on a rather unexpected beat, covering the city’s preparation—court cases, press conferences and more—for the August 12 Unite the Right rally and eventually the rally itself.

Gravely joined the paper in the first semester of her first year on campus. “I just like knowing things,” she says, and even more than knowing things, she likes sharing what she knows with others.

On Friday, August 11, Gravely was in court, reporting on the arguments in Jason Kessler’s lawsuit against the city for its decision to move the Unite the Right rally from its original location in Emancipation Park to McIntire Park. The ACLU Virginia and the Rutherford Institute represented Kessler.

Arguments wrapped up around 5pm and Gravely headed home to work on a story for the Cavalier Daily website and wait for Judge Glen Conrad’s decision. Around 8:30pm, Cavalier Daily Managing Editor Tim Dodson sent Gravely a text message: They’d received a tip that something was going to happen on Grounds, but they didn’t know what. And with move-in day only a few days away, Gravely wanted students who weren’t yet on Grounds to know what was happening.

“I had a feeling it was going to be something big,” Gravely says, so she grabbed her camera and rushed to meet Dodson at the Rotunda. They spotted a few people carrying unlit tiki torches and followed them to Nameless Field, which was swarming with alt-righters.

Alexis Gravely, senior associate news editor at the Cav Daily, reported on both the white nationalist tiki torch march at UVA Friday, August 11, and the Unite the Right rally/counterprotest the next day. Photo by Martyn Kyle

But Gravely wasn’t scared. The torches weren’t yet lit when she started a Facebook Live video. Not long after, march organizer Jason Kessler arrived, and Gravely says she started trying to get his replies to other journalists’ questions on the Facebook Live feed. When she turned back around toward the field, the torches were lit and the march had begun.

“We followed them the whole way,” Gravely says, sometimes at close distance. When the white supremacists passed near Newcomb Hall, chanting “you will not replace us,” Gravely says she choked up a little. “It was booming, it was so loud, and there were so many people chanting…but I don’t think I was scared. I was just kind of sad.”

A short while later, as the marchers neared the amphitheater at the south end of the Lawn, Gravely says she decided to put a little more distance between herself and the white supremacists. “I generally don’t think the worst of people, but I’m black, I’m a woman [and] they’re holding fire,” Gravely says, and so she and her Cavalier Daily comrades walked around the Lawn rooms up to the Rotunda to try and catch the marchers coming over the Rotunda steps for the Facebook Live stream.

Gravely says it was a bit of a blur to her, but she’s seen enough video and photos to know what happened: Hundreds of marchers surrounded a small group of students that was standing around the Jefferson statue in front of the Rotunda, chanting and waving their tiki torches, and after a few minutes, a fight broke out. At that point, the students protesting the march had left the statue and regrouped off to the side, administering first aid and chanting “black lives matter,” Gravely says. She interviewed a few of them while Dodson and another reporter set off to interview alt-right marchers.

Video streams saved, interviews recorded and photos taken, the three of them headed back to the Cavalier Daily office to write into the wee hours of the morning.

They were back out there again Saturday, too, arriving at Emancipation Park around the time that Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police declared an unlawful assembly. Gravely was covering social media for the Cavalier Daily, Tweeting, Facebook live streaming and snapping photos to post right away, and the first thing she remembers seeing was a police car covered in pink paint. “It reminded me of something in a movie, or even somewhere else where riots occur,” Gravely says. She saw someone set fire to a Confederate flag and she saw newspaper boxes tossed. She and some other Cavalier Daily staffers caught a mouthful of tear gas, or pepper spray—she doesn’t know which—and Gravely thought, “I don’t know if I can do this because I literally cannot breathe.”

But she persisted, snapping photos at Emancipation Park before hopping in her car and driving with other reporters to McIntire Park, where the white nationalists had gathered.

Gravely says she writes because she likes to tell stories, and for all of the bad she saw that weekend, she saw a lot of good, and both kinds of stories are worth telling. On Sunday evening, she arrived at the vigil for Heather Heyer, who was killed Saturday when a car plowed into a crowd of peaceful protesters, on Fourth Street SE with her camera in tow, ready to document the event for the Cavalier Daily. But once people started handing out flowers and singing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Gravely, moved to tears, couldn’t help but hug a few strangers.

After a few exhausting days of reporting, “I felt like I was part of a community,” says Gravely. “The town…I don’t know that they’d consider us [UVA students] a part of their community, which I completely get, because UVA is a very different place than Charlottesville, but I just felt like I was a part of Charlottesville, and I like that. I’ve gotten a lot of messages from people thanking me for being there, reporting…it made me feel like it wasn’t a waste.”

You write articles and you wonder if anyone’s reading them, if anyone cares, Gravely says. And that weekend, she was certain: “People were watching, and reading, and they did care.”—Erin O’Hare

Hit the Grounds running: Behind the scenes at the launch of a new academic year

On the heels of the tragic events in Charlottesville August 11 and 12, the University of Virginia had to ready itself for another chaotic, but undeniably happier, weekend that began August 18: the arrival of several thousand excited and nervous students for move-in days (see page 29 for their reactions to the anticipated start of classes). And getting the university in shipshape for a new batch of Hoos takes a village.

“Running the operations of the university is sort of like running a small city,” says UVA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Pat Hogan, who manages all things non-academic on Grounds. Encompassing its own housing and dining facilities, building and landscape maintenance, transportation, police and fire service, utilities, capital projects and a hospital, the entire complex is a microcosm of a functioning town. And when its 22,000 citizens return each August, not in a trickle but in a deluge, UVA has to be prepared.

The Friday and Saturday before classes begin are circled in red on Hogan’s calendar: move-in weekend. “I remember my wife and I dropping my daughter off here in the fall of 2000, and how hard it was for us to leave,” says Hogan. “But the Grounds are beautiful, the community is welcoming, and the students have so much energy—they’re really ready to change the world.”

So what does it take to hit peak readiness for their arrival? Here’s the lowdown on the ramp-up.

Lay of the land

“We are the first impression,” says Richard Hopkins, landscape superintendent. “Our students arrive at the university and the first thing they see is some piece of landscape, and we need to grab them.” His staff of 79 year-round workers takes care of the grass, shrubs and trees, arranges new plantings and clears away litter, and they carefully manage the cool season fescue growth to be optimal in August.

Hopkins and the staff look forward to the students’ return because that means the end of construction season. “All summer the backhoes and trucks park everywhere on Grounds,” he says, “and we come behind and work to restore and recover the landscaping.” Predicting the habits of students can be challenging as well. “They create shortcuts to their class buildings through the grass. Each year we repair them, and the following year the path will be someplace different.”

For the groundskeepers, the worst-case scenario is a big thunderstorm on the eve of move-in weekend, leading to trampled sod and a muddy mess. “If you’re really focused on keeping it perfect, it’ll drive you crazy,” he says. “You have to step back and say, ‘It’s okay, they’re using the space.’”

UVA Executive Vice President and COO Pat Hogan oversees every aspect of move-in weekend, when 3,800 first-years arrive. Photo by Amy Jackson

Upgrading on a curve

“Summer is as busy as we get,” says Rollie Zumbrunn, associate director of facilities management for housing. During the summer months, the custodial and maintenance workers have three kinds of work to do in the residence halls. Annual turnover includes deep cleaning such as waxing floors and resetting the rooms so they are ready for new occupants. Minor upgrades might involve changing a room from a lounge to a bedroom or swapping out carpet. And capital projects such as replacing elevators or installing air conditioning are the biggest and take the most time. This summer they’re upgrading dorm access from metal keys to ID cards, which are easier to turn off if lost.

“It’s exciting,” Zumbrunn says. “All of Charlottesville is more alive during the school year. The students bring so much energy.”

Culinary arts

“In late August, it’s like we are opening 25 brand-new restaurants, all at the same time, with brand-new guests and a portion of new staff,” says Matt Smythe, director of operations for UVA Dining. More than 600 employees strive to bring interesting, healthful meals to the student population, and the execution requires massive coordination of inventory, preparation and service. “We order paper products and supplies throughout July and August,” says Smythe, “but produce and perishables we bring in as close to when we need them as possible.”

Smythe notes that dining is a unique service because a student might visit a dining hall 20 times in a week. “We see the students more than anybody on Grounds except their roommate, and we want them to enjoy the experience.”

The food service crew keeps abreast of current food trends, and is always experimenting. “Last year, we tried a chicken-and-waffle night at O-Hill as a one-off, and it was a tremendous success,” says Smythe, so much so that it became a permanent menu item, complete with weekly variations dreamed up by the culinary staff.

Despite the gale-force ramp-up, Smythe says move-in weekend is his favorite time of the year. “The excitement on Grounds, the anticipation and the nervousness, the pride of the parents—it’s just a great weekend to be part of the university community,” he says.

Supply and demand

“We call it ‘book rush,’” says Cristy Huffman, executive director of the UVA bookstores. The robust online book ordering system that allows students to pre-order textbooks can yield upward of 500 orders per day in the weeks leading up to the start of classes, but the University Bookstore gets them filled in time. The addition of 25 to 30 temporary employees to the regular staff means the bookstore can process orders within 24 hours and have them ready for students to collect on the day they arrive.

“We focus on making the process as easy and stress-free as possible for both students and their parents,” says Huffman. This means setting up tents outside the store stocked with dorm items that students may have forgotten, from fans to surge protectors, and serving as a Q&A hub for families seeking directions or instructions. “The first 10 or 12 days are a huge push, but we get everybody through and make sure they’re happy,” says Huffman. “We get to know the students and watch them grow up while they’re here—it’s very fun for us.”

Home team

Over the course of the two-day move-in weekend, 3,800 first-year students and their families descend upon Grounds, and Residence Life has the process down to a science. “We want to make them feel at home where they live,” says Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life Gay Perez.

Some 250 resident assistants, along with hundreds of returning student volunteers, are dispatched to each of the residence halls to greet, check in and unload the arriving students, ideally in under 15 minutes per carload. Parking and transportation staff direct traffic, technology specialists are on hand to help with computer and network issues, and dining services sets up water stations throughout the residential areas. “It’s really a university showcase event,” says Perez, who notes that new (or newly renovated) residence halls are so carefully pre-checked that opening week glitches are almost nonexistent.

Assistant Dean of Students Andy Petters reiterates the message that parents and students receive at orientation: “We tell them the first thing they should pack in their car, and unload when they arrive, is patience. If they have that, then the rest is just fun.” Parents may have a tough time leaving their son or daughter on Grounds, but Saturday night’s JPJ concert is meant for students to have fun getting to know each other.

“By Sunday afternoon when students go to the Lawn for Convocation, there should be no more parents lurking around behind the shrubs,” says Petters with a smile.—Lisa Martin

Student voices

List of demands from students

On Wednesday, August 16, a group of students from activist groups across campus, including some who were present at the Jefferson statue the previous Friday, met with UVA Dean of Students Allen Groves to express their gratitude for seeing him at the Rotunda on Friday, and to share their concerns over administrative inaction that night. The students asked questions about what the administration knew of the march, when it knew it and why students were not notified about the march by the university. They also asked about university police involvement, and they shared a list of demands:

• Ban white supremacist hate groups from UVA’s Grounds.

• Denounce alt-right leaders and UVA alumni Richard Spencer and Jason
Kessler; ban them from Grounds and revoke their degrees.

• All Confederate and colonizer monuments and plaques on and around Grounds must be removed. An appropriate place would be in a museum or in special collections.

• Acknowledge the $1,000 gift for the University’s Centennial Fund received from the KKK in 1921 and include it in education surrounding the bicentennial.

• The statue of Jefferson clearly serves as an emblem of white supremacy. We need it to be balanced with more acknowledgment and education on the university’s history of white supremacy. All students, regardless of area of study, should have required education on white supremacy, colonization and slavery as they directly relate to Thomas Jefferson, the university and the city of Charlottesville. The new requirements do not adequately educate incoming students on this institution’s history, and only apply to the College of Arts & Sciences. Some students who took action on Friday night would also like the statue removed.

• Former KKK leader David Duke and alt-right leader Richard Spencer both stayed at the Boar’s Head Inn, a UVA hotel, this past weekend. Those profits, and more, should be redirected to cover the medical expenses of students harmed during this weekend’s terror.

Many of these actions would have legal consequences and require much thought before action, Groves told students during the meeting. In an audio recording of the meeting that was posted online, students are audibly understanding but frustrated, and some say they do not feel safe on Grounds going forward.

“I will remain in touch with them as they may need,” Groves told C-VILLE two days after the meeting, adding that he is “one of many university staff meeting to assess and evaluate any changes in protocol or practice that may be needed moving forward when faced with what we experienced last weekend.” For the time being, as classes start up this week, student groups are organizing community conversations on Grounds to talk among themselves and with administrators about where to go from here.—Erin O’Hare

College Republicans reject alt-right’s ideologies

It really bothers Robert Andrews, secretary of the College Republicans at UVA, that members of self-described alt-right groups are masquerading as conservatives. “If you stand for liberty [as many conservatives do], how can you stand for racism and inequality?” Andrews asks.

On Friday, August 11, at about 5:30pm, the College Republicans at UVA executive board issued a statement condemning the Unite the Right rally and the “so-called ‘conservatives’” who had organized and were planning to attend.

Robert Andrews. Photo by Natalie Jacobsen

“When these ideologies attempt to use the conservative movement, our movement, to legitimize these vile concepts, our organization will do everything in our power to reject them,” the group wrote of the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups “who are in favor of apartheid and other heinous ideologies.”

Andrews explains that conservatism is a movement in favor of “limited government, freedom, equality and opportunity. We want to live in a place where everybody has the ability to prosper.” The group as a whole, with more than 200 members and about 40 active members, is a more moderate Republican organization, but there are certainly hard-notch conservatives and true centrists among them, as well as libertarian conservatives (like Andrews, himself).

Andrews, who wasn’t in Charlottesville last weekend because he hadn’t moved back to Grounds yet, says that Kessler has “caused problems” for the College Republicans at UVA “because we’re not okay with what he’s doing, with his group.” Andrews says that last year, Kessler tried to talk to the executive committee (Andrews was not on the committee at the time) to inform the club about his group, Unity and Security for America. But when the group didn’t support Kessler’s views and alt-right connections, Kessler called “[us] a bunch of ‘cuckservatives’ and posted a picture of himself flicking us off on Facebook,” Andrews says.—Erin O’Hare

Q&A: How do you feel about the start of classes?

“I feel like I’m gonna get lost.” Ari, first-year from Georgia

“Anxious! I’ve never been to a college class before.” Sally, first-year from Georgia

“Hopeful that things will calm down. It’s been busy with orientation, so I’m excited for things to get routine.” Nicole, first-year from Florida

Wes Orton

“Oh, you know. Nervous, but it’s another year. Also pissed off. But excited, and hopeful despite everything. There’s a lot to be done.” Wes Orton, third-year from Utah

“I’m feeling pretty good. I’m pretty excited. I don’t know where everything is, but I’m excited to take classes about things that matter.” Salem Zelalem, first-year from Virginia

“Right now, it’s a lot of talking to people in your hall, so I’m excited to talk about things in classes that excite me.” Kim Salac, first-year from Virginia

“I feel really nervous, but also really confident that my classes will be interesting. I have a lot of faith in the professors here.” Sydney Suarez, first-year from Virginia

Excited. My classes sound interesting and my professors are really accomplished. Katie McCracken, first-year from Virginia

“Apprehensive. I still don’t know where my classes are.” Dan Helmus, first-year from New Jersey

“A little nervous for sure.” Chris Letai, first-year from Texas

“Pretty good. I’m looking forward to getting back on a schedule. And it’s nice to see students buzzing around Grounds again.” Katie Kolo, second-year from Virginia