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UVA refuses to divulge race of vandal who attacked Office of African-American Affairs
Dawson's Row


More than a month after the University of Virginia determined that vandalism at the Office of African-American Affairs was “unrelated to racial bias,” officials still will not provide further details on the suspect.

Rocks had been thrown through a window of a the Black Cultural Center, which is overseen and near the Office for African-American Affairs (pictured).

The University Police Department on Sept. 3 had arrested and charged the suspect, roughly two weeks after the vandalism occurred, The Daily Progress reported.

The College Fix emailed the media relations office and the police department throughout October to ask for more information, including a copy of the police report, but no response has been received.

The Fix also called the communications office and police department on November 2 and left two voicemails. It asked the university to specify the race of the suspect and if he or she is a student. They have yet to respond.

Jennifer Davis, UVA’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Tim Longo, campus police chief, emailed the campus community Sept. 22 with an update on the situation.

University police determined “the perpetrator was a student who was known to OAAA officials and who was motivated by factors unrelated to racial bias,” the email stated. “We are unable to divulge the student’s identity due to federal privacy laws, but the individual in question has been charged with this act of vandalism.”

The Fix reached out to the Office of African-American Affairs via email twice over several weeks in October to ask if videos or photos of the vandalism are available. It has not received a response.

The UVA student council on September 6 requested the university release “updated information and transparency regarding the investigation,” “stress[ed] the importance of Dawson’s Row as a space for Black students,” and “emphasiz[ed] the representative body’s solidarity with the Black community,” according to a September 7 article in The Cavalier Daily.

The student council has not commented on the incident on its Facebook or Instagram accounts since the university announced the event was not racially motivated. The Fix reviewed both accounts on November 2.

The Fix reached out to the UVA NAACP on Instagram November 2 to ask whether the organization has heard anything else about the OAAA suspect and whether it plans to ask the university for any more information or action. The Fix has not received a response.

The NAACP chapter at UVA “condemn[ed] the recent vandalism and property damage inflicted at Dawson’s row,” according to a statement posted to Instagram August 20.

“OAAA has acted like a home away from home and a place for Black students to be Black students,” the group stated. “No stone thrown with malice will knock down the empire and strength The Office of African American Affairs has created.”

Campus police has history of releasing details of suspects

While campus officials will not reveal details about the African-American Affairs office suspect, details are available about a suspect who allegedly hung a noose.

University officials identified as a hate crime a noose draped around a statue of Homer on campus on September 7, according to The Cavalier Daily.

Shane Dennis, a white man with no previous relation to the university, was arrested on October 24 for the incident and charged with intimidation, according to The Daily Progress, a local newspaper.

The confirmed hate crime at the Homer statue was determined to be unrelated to the rock throwing incident, according to the September 22 email from Davis and Longo.

“There is no current, visible trend of hate crimes or racially motivated attacks here at UVA,” they stated.

The Fix reached out to the police department to ask for photos of the hate crime at the Homer statue and whether it had a plan moving forward to prevent similar incidents. The Fix has not received a response.

Editor’s note: The article has been updated to clarify the Black Cultural Center is under the OAAA, but in a separate building.

MORE: UVA protesters want ‘stronger’ campus response to noose hung on statue


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About the Author
Aly Buckner -- University of Virginia