The University of Virginia has hired a higher-education consulting firm to review its safety infrastructure following a white nationalist march that turned violent on its campus in August.
Margolis Healy & Associates LLC will conduct a “comprehensive review of the university’s safety and security infrastructure, policies and tools,” according to an email from UVA spokesman Anthony de Bruyn.
The firm will be paid approximately $250,000 for the consultation, reports the Daily Progress.
“We are prepared to make additional investments in staffing and infrastructure based on their recommendations,” says de Bruyn.
University officials faced criticism from students, faculty and community members regarding the allowance of white nationalists to march through campus on the eve of the “Unite the Right” rally.
On August 11, several hundred white nationalist protesters marched across the UVA campus, celebrating the announcement that a federal judge had granted a temporary injunction to allow the rally to be held.
The protesters were met by counterprotesters at the Thomas Jefferson statue on campus where violence broke out, leading to one arrest and multiple injuries, including a police officer.
UVA President Theresa A. Sullivan says the school is taking additional proactive steps to increase public safety on campus, such as deploying more ambassadors and unarmed public safety personnel.
Sullivan also says there will be added security at major events on campus, such as athletics.
Following the violent clash on campus, Sullivan assembled a “working committee”, chaired by the dean of the School of Law Risa Goluboff, to look at the school’s response and what changes will need to be made for the future.
Current university policies allow demonstrations without permits on open spaces on campus and do not ban open flames during lawful protests.
“We have been thinking about, and in conversation with President Sullivan and the general counselors, about the policies on Grounds about open flames, about open carry and about the time, place and manner under which free speech happens,” says Goluboff.
The committee is in the midst of compiling a climate survey to be distributed to the UVA community to help gather information on what community members believe should be done moving forward to improve campus safety.