Memo from President Charles W. Steger on recent campus incident

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 11, 2005 – Over the past weekend, a deplorable incident occurred on campus that provides us all with an opportunity to demonstrate through our actions what it really means to be a member of a tolerant and inclusive community.

The incident I am referring to involved three male visitors (non students) in which one wrote racially intolerant comments on several doors in a campus residence hall. That visitor was later identified and arrested for assault and battery, and all three visitors have been barred from returning to our campus again. Virginia Tech students who were in company with these visitors will be referred to Judicial Affairs.

Last spring, our community formally adopted the Virginia Tech Principles of Community, a statement that affirms the university's commitment to a diverse and inclusive community. Acts contrary to these principles will not be tolerated in our campus.

This incident reminds us all that we not only have individual responsibility to uphold the Virginia Tech Principles of Community, but also have the responsibility to share those principles--and our commitment to them--with guests who visit our campus. Our affirmation of these principles requires each of us to denounce behavior that is racially hurtful and intolerant when we witness it.

The Virginia Tech Principles of Community may be found on the university’s Diversity website (

# # #

Wednesday (Oct. 12) update:

The Virginia Tech Police Department is investigating this incident, and information related to the case continues to emerge as the investigation progresses. As the investigation proceeds, police will continue to look for evidence to corroborate initial suspicions and/or indicate others who may have been involved--from both within and outside the university. However, the final determination of those involved remains in question.