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University of Virginia

The Ways of Justice

We were just three weeks out from closing this issue when the Unite the Right movement—comprising Nazis, white nationalists, and Klansmen, among others—descended on Charlottesville and provoked a weekend of bedlam and terror that left scores injured and three dead. The community here was devastated at first, then rallied behind the loss of its own. But the fact that Unite the Right had chosen Charlottesville to begin with has triggered a painful conversation about the ugly racial dynamics that underlie what’s often referred to as “one of the happiest cities in America.” Many here feel it’s long overdue.

This coming to terms with racial truths—for both the city of Charlottesville and its most powerful institution, the University of Virginia—will be a slow and messy reckoning. It has already been a raw experience, both volatile and illuminating. Actions since that weekend speak to the profound need for redress, which isn’t just political but a fundamentally human need.


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The University and the Pursuit of Happiness

October 12, 2015

Her skin was dryer than usual. Her eyes had deeper bags than a student in her twenties should have. Her hair was pulled back severely in a way that demanded the least possible care. And she was speaking at a rapid rate about how she needed to take eighteen credits—six courses—to fulfill her plan to complete a double major in chemistry and French. This was supposed to be an advising session to help a second-year student choose her major and courses for the next semester. Instead, it became something more urgent.

© Carollynn Tice / dreamstime.com

Begin Cutting

Everywhere in the bleached walls of the laboratory—the sterile linoleum flooring, the burnished metal of dissection tables, the zippered white bags used to veil the dead, the gleaming instruments used to cut them open—I saw the landscape of a story into which I was being written.