UVa to Veil Rotunda Columns in Black for Yeardley Love

By: Jessica Jaglois Email
By: Jessica Jaglois Email

September 14, 2010

University of Virginia President, Teresa Sullivan, is offering more specifics about the "Day of Dialogue" on Grounds. The event is a response to the violent death of UVa. lacrosse player, Yeardley Love.

The day-long event is set for September 24. It will feature discussions involving students, faculty and staff about the issues raised by Love's death. Sullivan wants professors to incorporate the sessions in their classes, and she is asking supervisors to be flexible with staff members who want to attend.

University professor Sanda Iliescu is creating a public art project as part of the event. The first part will be visible Friday when the columns on the Rotunda are draped in black fabric.

Iliescu, in a statement released by UVa, said, "We are fortunate at this university to have such a powerful symbol for our collective will: the Rotunda. What better way to put such sad events into focus than by taking the beautiful classical columns facing the lawn and temporarily veiling them? These columns are so bright, so suggestive of optimism, enlightenment, and natural grace. It is fitting that for a brief period we have the courage to transform them by lightly and delicately covering them. They will, for a brief period, turn heavy, melancholy, and introspective."

Then, on the day of the Dialogue, participants will be asked to pluck a blade of grass from the Lawn and enclose it an envelope they'll drop in specially-crafted boxes. Inside that envelope will also be a slip of paper where participants write about a hope they have for the coming year and a regret from the previous year.

Iliescu said the envelopes would be kept as a continuing source of inspiration.

Police say Yeardley Love was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, George Huguely, just a few days before both were scheduled to graduate. Huguely's lawyer has said the death was an accident. The case has not yet gone to trial and Huguely remains behind bars.

The incident brought a tragic year on Grounds to a close. Last September, Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington disappeared while attending a concert on Grounds. Police say she was murdered but have made no arrests.

Sullivan also released this schedule for the Day of Dialogue:

(Both the opening and closing sessions in Old Cabell Hall will be live-streamed via the Web for those unable to attend in person.)

* The Gathering: Opening Reflection Through the Arts and remarks by President Teresa A. Sullivan, 9 a.m., Old Cabell Hall with live streaming in Wilson Hall.

* Concurrent Dialogues: "Am I My Sister's/Brother's Keeper?" Led by faculty members in multiple locations, 10:15 to 11:45 a.m.

* Arts for the Community and Resource Fair: University-Wide Lunch, noon to 2 p.m., McIntire Amphitheatre.

* Concurrent Dialogues: "Are We a Caring Community?" Led by faculty members in multiple locations, 2 to 3:30 p.m.

* Creating Possibilities: Reflection by University Professor Michael F. Suarez and Closing Remarks by President Sullivan, with an introduction to Let's Get Grounded, 3:45 p.m., Old Cabell Hall with live streaming in Wilson Hall.

To register, visit the Day of Dialogue website.

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