Violent demonstrations

VCU

To the University and VCU Health Communities,

It is heartbreaking to see extensive damage at our Monroe Park Campus following a violent demonstration overnight in Richmond. About 80 windows were broken in a dozen buildings along with site furnishings dragged onto the street and damaged and numerous buildings tagged with graffiti. Damage is being assessed now, but it is expected to be more than $100,000.

Both Richmond and VCU Police tell us the demonstrators were different last night compared to those participating in other peaceful demonstrations that occurred in Richmond over the last several weeks. The protest was promoted in social media and flyers to be destructive, ostensibly to support protests in Portland. We are concerned about groups that promote destruction and violence co-opting important social justice reform movements.

VCU supports free speech and stands in solidarity with those peacefully expressing messages of social justice and equity for all people. VCU does not condone – under any circumstance – acts of violence or vandalism, regardless of the purported cause.

Violence against people and deliberate destruction of property are contrary to the values of our community and will not be tolerated. VCU has asked the Commonwealth’s Attorney to press criminal charges against any individuals involved.

The safety of our university and health system campuses are of paramount importance. Our greatest contribution to equity and inclusion of our people is to provide a conducive environment for learning, working, living and health care for our students, patients, faculty, staff and health care team members.

I am confident that you, too, share our commitment to social justice and equality, peaceful expression and also our repudiation of violence and vandalism.

Sincerely,

Michael Rao
President, VCU and VCU Health System