Students and staff from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business have come together in defiance against the violence and terror following a white nationalist rally which took place in Charlottesville last weekend.
One person died when a car plowed into a group protesting against the Unite the Right rally. Two state troopers were killed when their helicopter monitoring the demonstrations crashed. At least 34 others were injured.
Coverage of white supremacists marching on campus at the University of Virginia – a university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 – was watched on television screens across the world. It’s a clear affront to a university and business school committed to inclusion and diversity, leaving new cohorts of students shocked and concerned.
In the wake of the violence, Darden’s dean Scott Beardsley said:
“The terrible events of the past 24 hours in Charlottesville have shaken us all, and are shocking in this place that we know, love and work to build as members of this incredible community. I am appalled, saddened and sickened by the racism, hatred, bigotry and violence that have taken place in the wake of the Unite the Right rally and condemn it unambiguously.
“For those who are experiencing Charlottesville for the first time, including our arriving First Year students, please know that Charlottesville — and the University of Virginia — are actually wonderful places; most of the protestors from the Unite the Right group are from other places and many have unfortunately imported hooligan-like violence to our lovely town.
“While we respect free speech, the values and ideology of the so-called ‘alt-right’ and the images broadcast on media around the world are in complete opposition with Darden’s values, which include unwavering support of a collaborative, diverse community bound together by mutual respect.
“Darden thrives in part because we are a supportive and diverse global community. Our fundamental values for inclusion, respect for individuals and exploration of diverse perspectives are completely at odds with the racist ideologies expressed by the white supremacist groups that have traveled to Charlottesville this weekend; all races are welcome at Darden.”
On Monday, the business school community took time to reflect on the weekend’s events, posing for a photo outside Saunders Hall.
Sam Qiu, a class of 2019 MBA student graduating in 2019, said: “[The photo] shows the world that we stand with resolve, unity and a commitment to diversity.
“As the world looks at Charlottesville, let us not allow this atrocious ideology define us as a community. Instead, let us present a unified message to the warm and diverse community that we are.”
38 nationalities are represented in the 345-strong Darden MBA class of 2018. 33% of students are international. 20% are from domestic minorities. 39% are women.