New Law School Student Clinic to Focus on Civil Rights, Racial Justice

Posted: February 10, 2017, 12:00am

UVA Law students who volunteered during winter break gather around a table at the Legal Aid Justice Center with staff also assigned to the caseload.University of Virginia law students will gain practical experience working on civil rights and racial justice cases through a new pro bono clinic, launched this semester. The Civil Rights Litigation Pro Bono Clinic, a partnership between the UVA School of Law and Charlottesville’s Legal Aid Justice Center, received an $80,000 grant from the Jesse Ball duPont Fund. Students will work on civil rights cases involving topics found in many of today’s headlines, such as policing and race, criminalization of poverty and mental health. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Kimberly Reich)

UVA Holds Immigration Town Hall in Wake of Trump Travel Ban

Posted: February 8, 2017, 10:41am

Sajedeh Hosseini, right, represented the Iranian Students Association. Hannah Borja, to her left, represented DREAMers on Grounds. Attiya Latif, to Borja’s left, represented the Minority Rights Coalition. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)Members of the international community at the University of Virginia attended a special town hall Tuesday evening to get answers on how President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban and other administrative actions will affect them. Organized by the International Studies Office, the University invited immigration attorney Mark Rhoads to present to students, scholars, faculty and staff in Gibson Hall. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Jane Kelly)

UVA President, Provost Address Immigration Issues

Posted: January 29, 2017, 12:00am

READ THE FULL LETTER to the UVA Community from President Teresa Sullivan and Executive Vice President and Provost Tom Katsouleas

"We Can't Remain Silent": Anita Hill Speaks Up for Civil, Women's Rights

Posted: January 27, 2017, 12:00am

Anita Hill has devoted her career to civil rights and women’s rights since those days in 1991 when she boldly testified about sexual harassment during U.S. Senate hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Hill, for many years now a Brandeis University professor, spoke Thursday night to a packed Paramount Theater as the keynote speaker for the University of Virginia’s 2017 Community MLK Celebration to commemorate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Anne E. Bromley)

Photo by Tom Cogill

Letter from VP-CODE (January 2017 Edition of Our Grounds: Dimensions of Diversity)

Posted: January 9, 2017, 11:55am


Greetings, Friends,


I hope the 2016 holiday season was very memorable and the winter break was rejuvenating.    


The spring semester and the annual Community Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration are quickly approaching.  Over the past six years, we’ve had the privilege of welcoming many compelling speakers – including Donna Brazile, Harry Belafonte, Michael Eric Dyson, and Ta-Nehisi Coates – to UVA.  During that time, over 150 events have been planned to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, covering a range of themes such as “Giving Voice,” “Arc of Justice,” “Looking Back, Moving Forward,” and “The Call to Higher Ground.”  Our theme for 2017 is “Silence as Betrayal.”  In 1967, speaking out against the war in Vietnam, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”  Unfortunately, silent betrayal persists today when we choose not to speak out or to act against various social injustices. This passive posture betrays the humanity of our fellow citizens.  There comes a time when we are faced with doing what is right instead of what is comfortable. King’s words are as relevant today as they were fifty years ago: “We are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.”


The 2017 Community MLK Celebration will begin on January 16th with the Medical Center Interfaith Service honoring the life and work of Dr. King.  With more than fifteen events planned over two weeks, students, faculty, staff, and members of the greater community will have many opportunities to hear from talented speakers, participate in discussions, and commemorate the legacy of Dr. King.  On January 26th, Anita Hill, University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women’s Studies at Brandeis University, will deliver the keynote address at the Paramount Theater. Her address is titled “Reimagining Equality: Inclusive Communities in Post Obama America.”   Professor Hill is a leader in both the civil rights and women’s rights movements and an expert on the complex and often challenging issues of race, gender, and workplace discrimination in America. In 1991, Hill made sexual harassment in the workplace a national issue when she testified that Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas had committed sexual harassment against her.


Other compelling speakers include Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor at Slate;  Russell Jones, trauma psychology specialist and Professor of Psychology at Virginia Tech University; Larycia Hawkins, visiting faculty fellow at UVA’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and former professor at Wheaton College; Dalia Mogahed, Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding; Maurice Wallace, Professor, English Department and Associate Director African American and African Studies, Carter G. Woodson Institute, University of Virginia;  Blake Morant, Dean of the George Washington School of Law; and Tyrell Starr, national political correspondent.  More information about our speakers and additional events for the 2017 Community MLK Celebration can be found online at  All events are free and open to the public; however, some events require registration. 


In addition to the tremendous speakers, performances, and discussions planned for this year’s celebration, I would like to draw your attention to the UVA Memorial to Enslaved Laborers Public Forum.  All are invited to attend this community forum at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center on January 23 from 6:00 – 8:00pm.  Attendees will learn more about how the University of Virginia will produce the memorial, meet the design team, and be asked to offer their own ideas and feedback about the memorial.


Later this semester, the 7th John T. Casteen, III Diversity – Equity – Inclusion Leadership Award will be presented to a member of the UVA community who best demonstrates a dedication to leadership and a deep commitment to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University and in the community.  Any member of the University community (student, faculty, or staff) is eligible for nomination, according to the criteria. In addition to the nomination form, the committee requires a letter describing how the nominee has exemplified the award-related criteria and three additional letters of support (one of which must be from outside the nominee's department or school).  Nominations are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 3, 2017. Your support of the 2017 Community MLK Celebration and John T. Casteen, III Diversity –Equity- Inclusion Leadership Award is very much appreciated.


Best wishes to all for a healthy, happy, and productive 2017.


Marcus L. Martin, M.D.

Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity

Professor of Emergency Medicine


CORRECTION: The September issue stated that the School of Medicine received the Health Professions HEED Award for the second year in a row.  The School of Medicine has received the award four years in a row.