Dr. Stuart S. Malawer (professor at George Mason University, School of Public Policy and member of the Virginia State Bar) writes ……… What should be the University of Virginia’s response to the wrongful death lawsuit by the parents of Yeardley Love?
Should it be one of aggressive defense as Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli proclaimed? Or should it be one recognizing the responsibility state universities have for basic student safety and to work with Virginia universities to recognize this and to improve it at all Virginia universities?
I suggest that the Attorney General should be positive and proactive to ensure that Virginia universities uphold their fundamental responsibility of providing security on their campuses.
The Attorney General needs to formulate polices that require all state universities to reduce drunkenness and criminal assaults by their own students. This may well involve addressing the counseling needs of students as well as better oversight of and by the athletic administrators. In a sense this would involve addressing some of the more destructive aspects of prevailing cultures at these institutions.
Student safety should be a basic obligation in light of state funding and huge tuition payments and sacrifices made by parents and students alike.
The University of Virginia should not let its brand be tarnished further by the same individual who recently attacked it for upholding basic academic freedom when he demanded it turnover emails and documents concerning a professor’s global warming research and lost that case as well as two more high-profile cases recently.
The reaffirmation of responsibility of state universities and the Commonwealth to students and parents for providing a safe environment ought to be the true legacy of Yeardley Love’s long-suffering ordeal. Let’s not compound it.