Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.15
Liaison Andrea Trimble
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Virginia
IN-47: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Julia Monteith
Senior Land Use Planner
Office of the Architect
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Memorial for Enslaved Labors and Racial Equity Goals

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

The Memorial to Enslaved Laborers was completed in 2020 and has received national acclaim through awards and the national press. Nestled into the sloping landscape of the “Triangle of Grass”, which sits within the UNESCO World Heritage Site boundary of the University of Virginia’s (UVA) grounds, the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers seeks to formally acknowledge the work and the individual lives of the enslaved African Americans who built and sustained the every-day life of the University. Founded and designed by Thomas Jefferson, UVA is considered by many to be the quintessential university campus. Yet like many of its peer institutions, the University depended on the labor and work of enslaved African American men, women and children. Constructed of local granite, “Virginia Mist,” the Memorial will create a space to gather, reflect, acknowledge, and honor the enslaved laborers who contributed to the University. Scholars estimate that at least 5,000 enslaved African Americans worked on the grounds, with many in residence, starting with the construction of the Lawn in 1817 and lasting through the end of the Civil War in 1865.The Memorial captures dualities in its circular form that references both the “Ring Shout,” a dance practiced by enslaved African Americans that celebrates spiritual liberation and a broken shackle that signals the end of physical bondage. These dual conditions form two nested rings that break when they meet the ground to open a circle that welcomes gathering.

President's Commission on Slavery: At an April 2013 meeting of the President’s Cabinet, Dr. Marcus Martin, Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity, made a presentation on slavery at UVa and proposed that a commission be formed to further explore the topic and to make recommendations as to the next steps the University could take in response to this history. Dr. Martin credited groups such as Memorial for Enslaved Laborers (MEL), the UVa IDEA Fund (Inclusion Diversity Equity Access), and University and Community Action for Racial Equity (UCARE) for creating robust initiatives around the topic of slavery, which will guide the Commission’s work.

UVA Racial Equity Task Force: The Task force is composed of Kevin McDonald, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Ian Solomon, Dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; and Barbara Brown Wilson, Assistant Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning and co-founder and Faculty Director of UVA’s Equity Center.

In September 2020 the UVA Board of Visitors endorsed several goals articulated by UVA’s Racial Equity Task Force and requested that UVA leadership develop a plan for funding, implementing and measuring progress toward those goals. (https://news.virginia.edu/content/uva-board-visitors-endorses-goals-presented-racial-equity-task-force)

The goals include:

Doubling the number of underrepresented faculty at UVA by 2030;
Reviewing the tenure and promotion process;
Developing a plan and a time horizon for having a student population that better reflects the racial and socioeconomic demographics of the Commonwealth of Virginia and, as much as feasible, of the nation;
Encouraging related organizations to develop a scholarship program for the descendants of enslaved laborers who worked to build and maintain the University;
Reviewing policies regarding staff hiring, wages, retention, promotion and procurement, in order to ensure equity;
Ensuring that the division of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Community Partnerships has sufficient resources to do their work;
Developing a series of educational programs around racial equity and anti-racism, including leadership development programs focused on equity, including racial equity;
Endowing the key programmatic elements of the Carter Woodson Institute and providing funding to create more faculty positions;
Exploring potential initiatives to recognize and support Native American students and Native American studies;
Thoroughly reviewing University Police practices and policies to ensure fair, equitable and transparent practices reflecting 21st-century policing principles and developing relevant training for officers and supervisors;
Forming a Department of Safety and Security Advisory Council.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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