UVA students vote to end expulsion as single-sanction honor penalty; Board of Visitors gets update on construction
Students at the University of Virginia have voted to end a long-standing tradition where people can be kicked out permanently for violating the honor code. Instead, the new single-sanction punishment will be a year’s suspension rather than the traditional expulsion.
According to UVA Today, over 6,000 students voted on the proposal with around 80 percent in favor of the change.
The University Board of Visitors met last week and President Jim Ryan told the group that he would not have voted to make the change. He also spoke of the enhanced community involvement UVA has made during his tenure. Ryan established the President’s Council on UVA-Community Partnership and a report was completed in February 2019. (read the report)
“It has been in the spirit of what we can do together and the approach on affordable housing is a great example of that,” Ryan said.
UVA has pledged to work with a private developer to build up to 1,500 below-market units and has selected three sites on land owned by the UVA or its real estate foundation. One of them is at the North Fork Discovery Park, and a rezoning for that project is making its way through Albemale County’s land use application process.
“All of it going a long way to changing the narrative about UVA and about UVA’s relationship to Charlottesville and Albemarle County and I think that that’s a very good thing for the University,” Ryan said. “There’s still plenty of work to do but the conversation is different than it was four years ago.”
Ryan also sought feedback on the University’s strategic plan and some of the initiatives within. One of them is to “Be a strong partner and good neighbor to the Charlottesville region.”
On Thursday, the BOV’s Buildings and Grounds Committee met and discussed several matters of interest. There are several major construction projects underway with the most impact likely coming from the Emmet – Ivy Corridor where the School of Data Science is well underway heading toward a December 2023 completion date.
The committee was briefed on some changes coming to UVA’s Capital Plan which has a budget of just over $3 billion, according to Colette Sheehy, Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government Relations.
“We’ve actually completed quite a bit of work in the last year, $700 million worth of projects,” Sheehy said. “Some of the more notable ones include the University of Hospital expansion, the orthopedic center, and the Student Health and Wellness Center.”
Sheehy said staff are proposing adding $411 million in new project, with $20 million of that just to plan projects. The proposed 2022 Capital Plan would be $2.67 billion.
They’re also proposing removing a standalone project to construct a $60 million new building for the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.
“We now are pursuing a partnership between the Karsh Institute for Democracy and the Batten School to provide some space for Batten within the Karsh Institute,” Sheehy said.
That building will also be within the Emmet – Ivy precinct along with a new hotel and convention center. Construction of that building is expected to begin in late spring or early summer.
Projects under construction are the renovations of Alderman Library, a new residence hall on Brandon Avenue, and the Contemplative Commons near the Dell stormwater pond.
Projects in the planning stages include a football operations building, an Olympic sports complex, the Karsh Institute, and a new building for the McIntire School of Commerce.
There are three new projects that will be added to the planning pool.
“One is the Center for the Arts,” Sheehy said. “The planning authorization was included in Governor Northam’s introduced budget allowing us to actually use our money to do the planning. But that is a good signal the state is interested in funding that project in the future.”
This authorization remains within the budget bill currently being negotiated in the General Assembly. UVA has an $11 million gift to cover the cost of the design work.
There’s also a $4 million gift to begin planning work for a Center for Design for the School of Architecture and a $5 million gift for an academic building for the Engineering School.
“We’ve done some planning already for both of those schools and there is a need for additional space,” Sheehy said.
Four projects would be added for construction, with one of them being a $350 million Institute for Biotechnology.
“It is a research facility with a manufacturing facility included in it that would allow us to produce research through to clinical trials for new drug therapies,” Sheehy said. “The intention is that it would attract many biotechnology companies that would want to work with our faculty and to locate in and around Charlottesville.”
This project is also within both the House and Senate versions of the budget. Other new projects are additional landscaping on Ivy Road, HVAC work at Monroe Hall, and infrastructure at Memorial Gym to make it more accessible as well as ADA compliant. There is also funding for a study of childcare needs as well as a space study for nursing to accommodate more instructional space.
The changes to the Capital Plan will be voted upon in June.
Sheehy also said there will also be an update of the 2019 Parking and Transportation Study post-COVID. (read the 2019 study)
“The president has asked us to go back and do a more comprehensive kind of broad-based look at the need for parking overall across the institution,” Sheehy said.
One member of the Buildings and Grounds Committee suggested building additional parking on the other side of the railroad tracks south of the University of Virginia Health System. Sheehy pushed back.
“We have to be careful that that’s a residential neighborhood and there are lot of issues to consider,” Sheehy said. “Traffic, neighbors, the needs of the health system. We will look at all of that.”
The next meeting of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors is in June.
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