CC: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>
From: Michael Stephen Fuchs
Subject: Re: A Message to the University Community
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2014
Dear Teresa Sullivan,
This is in response to your email of 22 November.
I do not wish to be contacted by you, or any representative of the University of Virginia, on any matter, ever again. I require that you strike my name and contact details from any alumni or other database where it is held (including "hoosonline"). This message is being copied to the Alumni Association, as well as to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, whom I also expect to comply with this instruction. I am ending, utterly and forever, my association with the University of Virginia. I do not wish to benefit in any way from having attended UVa.
A copy of this letter is published at http://www.michaelfuchs.org/razorsedge/?story=2014-11-25
P.S. How dare you claim that "Meaningful change is necessary, and we can lead that change for all universities" - at once trying to paint a tragedy (and your own egregious malfeasance) as an opportunity, and (with a wink and a nudge) suggesting that, "Hey, it's not just us!" You are without shame.
P.P.S. It's no longer any of my business, of course, but if you had the remotest trace of decency, or sense of responsibility for the unforgivable horrors that have occurred - and been excused, and been wilfully and knowingly swept under the rug - under your administration, you would resign immediately, as would every member of the Board of Visitors. If you or they decline to do the decent thing, the Governor of Virginia ought immediately to sack the entire BOV and replace it with new members who agree to immediately sack and replace you. But I am through trying to make UVa do the decent thing. I am through with UVa entirely.
Update: I was very pleased to get some lovely correspondence from an old mentor at UVa, and now very dear friend. Among many other useful things, she said, "While I certainly agree with your reaction, I'm sure you'll not be surprised when I say that I don't agree with your response. I just feel UVA needs a sense of outraged involvement from its alums now more than ever." I responded:
Thank you for your (as always) extremely thoughtful and eloquent letter. I also appreciate the additional information you provide. And I'm sorry to let you down here - but I'm done. This was just the last nail in the coffin of my relationship with UVa - but, obviously, what a nail. Over 2.2 decades, I've never had the remotest sense that my involvement, or outrage, has had the slightest effect in positively impacting the university. (Though the people who write seven-figure checks seem not to have had any lack of influence.) I'm comfortable that the best thing I can do now - and this also seems to me to be a moral imperative - is to have nothing more to do with it. (Plus I have exhausted any desire to see it improve. After this outrage, I'd be happy enough to see "the rape school" burn to the ground.)
This might not be the right place to add this, but I do treasure my memories from there, and very much of value I gained there. In particular, I have my Honour - even if the people who run the joint wouldn't recognize it on the street.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and all of yours as well.
P.S. Oh - and I might also point out that the university long ago destroyed my dearly beloved personal home at UVa: the Pep Band. And while those transgressions probably shouldn't even be spoken of in the same breath, it seems to me they were done for the same reason: relentless obsession with public relations (and, presumably, fundraising - whose handmaiden PR is). And if I'm right there, that means UVa let young women get gang-raped for money. You'll see what I mean about moral imperative and also why I used the word unforgivable in my original letter.
O-kay, looks like another update required in the wake of the unraveling of this story. (Not least because I've been so strident and self-righteous about this.) Here's what I wrote in the Pep Band alumni group on facebook (where I was first alerted about this, and where we were hashing it out):
Here are a couple of comments from other Pep Band alumni posted under the link to the Rolling Stone retraction that I found very heartening:
Alternate caption: Good news! Because one victim might have been making it up, UVa no longer has a rape problem!
Also, "victims lie, but perpetrators and criminals never do." Wait. That doesn't seem right.
I am so pissed off right now.
The problem with this rush to blame Rolling Stone is that this shit happens at UVa. Repeatedly. This particular case may have been fabricated, but that doesn't excuse UVa from anything. We were already under a Title 9 investigation before the story, and this one unreliable witness doesn't undo all the sexual assaults that actually happened and were covered up by an administration unwilling to be the one honest university.