In spring 2010, we learned about the tragic death of a University of Virginia student, Yardley Love. It was especially disconcerting to learn that many of her friends, lacrosse teammates, and other students knew about the emotional and physical violence she had been subjected to from her boyfriend, a fellow student. Her death may have been prevented had other students taken action, perhaps by having spoken out, by having reached out to appropriate members of the campus community, or by having encouraged Yardley to seek assistance. A tragedy like this prompts me to ask how such an incident can occur in a caring and responsible community where people respect one another.
The Division of Student Affairs has established an initiative called, ‘Canes Care for ’Canes - What Would You Do for a Fellow ‘Cane? The purpose is to promote the ideal of a caring community and to identify campus resources that are available to assist whenever a student is in need. The first phase of the initiative began during New Student Orientation 2010 with its introduction and a visual campaign throughout campus with posters, palm cards, and banners.
I am thrilled about the current initiatives which include this interactive website, programs and events, and community access to the anonymous reporting form.
The results have been positive! I have interacted with students who have referenced the initiative, read articles that exhibit how students care in the newspaper, and received multiple stories where students have reached out to each other and lent a helping hand.
I have been a member of the ’Cane family for nearly 30 years and I deeply care for our community. What would I do for a fellow ’Cane? I encourage you to ask yourself the same question when you see a friend or classmate. When we all take the time to support each other, and not be a spectator, that’s when we truly exhibit a caring community.
Patricia A. Whitely