University of Virginia students are now required to report any arrests or convictions as a result of the student killing last spring.
On May 3, U.Va. student Yeardley Love, 22, was found dead in her off-campus apartment. Her former boyfriend, George Huguely, 22, has been charged in association with her murder. Huguely was also a student at U.Va., as well as a member of the lacrosse team.
New evidence has revealed that Huguely had a previous arrest for a drunken encounter with a police officer in Lexington, Va. School officials hope this new policy will flag potentially dangerous students before similar incidents can occur.
“We hope to be in a better position to engage students regarding risky or dangerous behavior by having a more complete picture of that behavior,” Allen Groves, dean of students at U.Va., said.
Once an arrest has been reported Groves’ office decides the appropriate follow-up action.
“Our current assumption is that for most disclosures, there may be a follow-up e-mail or conversation to fill in any necessary facts and context,” Groves said in a statement. “For arrests and convictions occurring in Virginia, the dean of students will also access the court records database of the relevant city or county to check the specific charges and status of each.”
U.Va. has required students to report arrests since 2004. However, the rule was neither well known by students, nor strongly enforced.
“The policy requiring that students report arrests and convictions is, in all material respects, the same as has been in place since 2004. What has changed is our moving to an active rather than passive method for informing students of the policy and gathering responsive information,” Groves said.
U.Va. has asked that other Virginia colleges join in its new initiative and notify one another if a student is arrested while visiting another school.
“We have informed peers in the commonwealth of Virginia of our intent to inform them whenever one of their students is arrested or is involved in a serious incident on our grounds, and we are inviting them to do the same with us,” Groves said. “Many schools have responded positively to our invitation.”
The College of William and Mary is on board with the new initiative.
“We have, for many years, shared information with other schools regarding arrests of their students on our campus, particularly for serious incidents as a courtesy,” David Gilbert, associate dean of students, said.
U.Va. students are required to disclose any arrests, except for minor traffic infractions, within 72 hours of the incident. Athletes must report any incident to their respective coaches within 24 hours.
Those who fail to report an arrest are considered to be in violation of the U.Va. honor code. These regulations also apply to students of U.Va.’s graduate and professional programs.