In brief: August 11 bombshells, sexual harassment and more

Neo Nazis, alt-righters and white supremacists encircle counter protestors at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson after marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches on August 11, 2017. (Credit Image: © Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press) Neo Nazis, alt-righters and white supremacists encircle counter protestors at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson after marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches on August 11, 2017. (Credit Image: © Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press)

What UVA knew

Through a public records request, the Chronicle of Higher Education obtained nearly 3,000 documents from the University of Virginia before, during and after the notorious August 11 tiki-torch march through Grounds. “Together, the emails shed light on the mentality of a university administration and a campus police force that were caught off guard by a throng of white supremacists who used one of the nation’s premier public institutions as the staging ground for a demonstration reminiscent of Nazi Germany and the worst days of the Ku Klux Klan,” writes reporter Jack Stripling in his November 20 article.

The biggest bombshells

They might come as tourists. “Of course we anticipate that some of them will be interested merely in seeing Mr. Jefferson’s architecture and Lawn,” President Teresa Sullivan wrote the Board of Visitors in an email on August 9, two days before the Friday night march.

The Cassandra figure. Captain Donald McGee with university police warned his supervisors August 8 that there could be a repeat of the tiki-torch march held in May and the Rotunda and Lawn might be targeted because white nationalist Richard Spencer is a UVA alum.

If charcoal grills are allowed… McGee noted that the torches were a fire hazard, but university police were unaware they could enforce UVA’s open flame policy.

Blame the victims. Sullivan was famously videoed chastising a student for not telling the administration what the Unite the Righters’ plans were. “Don’t expect us to be reading the alt-right websites,” said the president. But student and faculty warnings appeared unheeded.

Call the first lady. Religious studies prof Jalane Schmidt heard chatter about a march Friday afternoon, but fearing she wouldn’t be taken seriously because she’s an activist, she notified Mayor Mike Signer’s wife, Emily Blout, an assistant media studies professor, who said UVA knew since 3pm and that she “went to the top.”

We’ve got this covered. University Police Chief Mike Gibson expressed confidence that the upcoming situation was under control when offered assistance from the city and county police, which kept officers nearby on standby. When the march started, one lone UVA officer was spotted on the Lawn.

Eli Mosley lied? The Unite the Right security guy, Identity Evropa’s Mosley, told UVA police the group assembling at Nameless Field was smaller than he expected, would march up University Avenue and not through Grounds—and would pick up its trash.

“In my 47 years of association with the University, this was the worst thing I have seen unfold on the Lawn and at the Rotunda. Nothing else even comes close.” —Professor and Lawn resident Larry Sabato in an email to Sullivan August 11 after the neo-Nazi march through Grounds.




In brief

And so it begins…

Cramer Photos

National Book Award winner and UVA creative writing professor John Casey is the focus of a Title IX complaint filed by former MFA student Emma Eisenberg, who alleges he touched her “inappropriately” at social functions, didn’t call on her in class and referred to women using the c-word. Casey is preparing a response, according to NBC29.

White power playbook

The apparently bogus UVA White Student Union posted a screed on Facebook that’s almost exactly the same as one posted for hoax organizations in 2015 at more than 30 schools, including UC Berkeley, Penn State and NYU. UVA says the owner of the page is likely not a UVA community member, and the White Student Union is not an official school organization, the Cav Daily reports.

“I felt like [August 12] was so volatile and it changed the mood of the whole country. My thought was: If these men aren’t held accountable, it will convey the message nationally that you can beat the life out of someone and just get away with it.”—Shaun King on why he dedicated himself to identifying violent alt-righters from the rally, as reported by the Daily Progress

Citizen oversight

City Council gave the go-ahead November 20 for a civilian review board to look at complaints against the Charlottesville Police Department or its officers.

City and county oversight

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors and City Council seek seats on the board of the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau, to which they contribute more than $1.7 million in tax dollars. The current bureau hired Clean, a Raleigh, North Carolina, advertising agency, according to the Progress. Previously, the now-defunct Payne Ross handled advertising.

Tired of vigils

Martyn Kyle

Five years ago, just before Thanksgiving, Sage Smith headed to West Main to meet Erik McFadden and was never seen again. Earlier this year, Charlottesville police declared the case a homicide and named McFadden a person of interest. Smith’s grandmother, Cookie Smith, told the Daily Progress she’s tired of candlelight vigils and was organizing a sock drive for the homeless.

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