We learned today that news media have obtained and published portions of the court record from a 2017 case involving a disorderly conduct charge against a former non-degree student.  The record supporting the charge contains explicitly racist and threatening language that the student is alleged to have used during a phone call in the Howe library two years ago.  The student left the university in 2017 and is not currently enrolled.  We recognize that the release of this material from the court record may disturb members of our community.

After the incident in the library was reported by a student to UVM Police Services, the police promptly launched an investigation, and identified the person who made the phone call. Based on the investigation, the Chittenden County State’s Attorney charged the student with disorderly conduct. Shortly after the charge was filed, it was dismissed by the court for lack of probable cause. The university issued a statement at the time to the UVM community denouncing the alleged behavior.

We are taking this opportunity to once again unequivocally condemn such detestable expressions of hate in our community.  The language the former student is alleged to have used is deeply injurious, especially to Black or African American members of our community, and runs counter to the values of our university.  It undermines UVM’s ongoing efforts to support racial equality, justice, and inclusion. The impact on our community at the time was damaging, and we want to re-emphasize our commitment to doing all we can to ensure that UVM is a safe place for all community members to learn or work.

The university is committed to supporting those community members affected by the release of these court documents. We have asked key UVM partners from across the university to help us provide opportunities for community members to process these events together or alone in a safe place. In addition, following are campus resources you can reach out to in the coming days: 

UVM’s strength is built upon a foundation of inclusion, understanding, and respect. We will continue to defend the strengths that define us.

PUBLISHED

12-07-2019
President's Office