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Student Affairs Blog

News and information beyond the classroom

Dear students,

VCU is a very diverse community with a host of differing viewpoints reflecting each of our personal lenses through which we see, and experience, the world. This diversity of viewpoint and opinion is a tremendous asset to our community. Our hope is that you engage in conversations with others who share similar and dissimilar perspectives. The university is committed to fostering a climate that encourages civil and spirited discourse through classes, events, and the public forum.

VCU is also obligated, as a public university, to ensure a strong commitment to the First Amendment and Virginia law. The First Amendment prohibits prior restraint on speech and taking adverse action against individuals or groups, whether affiliated with the university or not, based on the viewpoints of that speech. This freedom of speech also encompasses the rights of those who present differing viewpoints.

Our Reservation and Use of Space policy clarifies how expressive activities occur at VCU. A list of Frequently Asked Questions can assist with inquiries that have been made previously, including but not limited to those pertaining to time, place, manner, costs, and major events. 

Because of the continued risk of COVID-19,  VCU health and safety protocols limit in-person gatherings to no more than 10 individuals in attendance. This includes student organizations, which are encouraged to host virtual events. All on-campus events, meetings, and gatherings are limited to VCU faculty, staff, and students. Outdoor events must follow the same safety requirements as indoor events: 

  • Face coverings must be worn
  • 6 feet physical distance between participants
  • No more than 10 participants
  • Students or student organizations hosting gatherings, such as parties or other social gatherings, on or off-campus with more than 10 people, where such gatherings pose a threat to the health or safety of the VCU community, will be subject to interim suspension.

With more conversations and interactions happening in the digital environment, the university has received reports of harassment, trolling and doxing on social media. 

If you feel that you are being harassed online, here are some immediate steps you can take. 

  • Document the posts or dialogue
  • Block the individuals on the social media platform(s)
  • Report the concerning use of social media to the social media platform(s)
  • If the responsible individual(s) are VCU students, the Dean of Students may provide information about reporting behavior that violates university policy. Otherwise, the Dean of Students Office may provide resources designed to support those who experience concerning discourse online.

We also have a team of staff members through the Division of Student Affairs who are available to consult and are often present when expressive activities occur on campus. The Dean of Students office is available throughout the year to meet with students who have specific questions or concerns and can be reached at vcudean@vcu.edu or 804-828-8940.

As a public university, we will uphold the constitutional rights of our community, and hold tight to our core values of decency, respect, diversity, and inclusion. We will ensure that all members of our community feel welcome, safe, supported, and able to succeed in the context of our mission.

Thank you for your support of expressive activity on our campus and your willingness to engage in productive civil discourse with others.

Sincerely,

Charles Klink, Ph.D.
Senior Vice Provost
Division of Student AffairsCategories Fall 2020 - Spring 2021

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