Official Statement

Our Commitment to a Healthy, Inclusive, and Safe Campus Culture

Today, Acting President Eric Denna shared the following letter with the Southern Virginia University community.

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As we close this spring semester, I want to reaffirm our commitment to building a healthy, inclusive, and safe campus culture at Southern Virginia University.

While we have made some strides this past semester in addressing these important issues, we acknowledge that our work in this area is not yet done. Building an intentional culture of psychological safety with inclusion, learner, contributor, and challenger safety for all will take time—much more than a single semester—and require consistent, concerted efforts from all. 

We are committed to the work ahead and invite everyone to join us as fellow cultural architects engaged in the work of building a campus culture full of inclusion, kindness, and unity. For this university to thrive, we must continue to develop a safe campus for all students, faculty, and staff consistent with the Lord’s command to love one another as the Savior admonished his disciples (John 13:34).

To that end, as you know, we welcomed Dr. Tim Clark to campus to speak with a variety of groups across campus and share data about the current state of psychological safety. After further consultation with Tim, I have asked Director of Human Resources Adam Whipple to take the lead with Tim’s company, LeaderFactor, in developing a plan of specific actions we can undertake this coming academic year to increase psychological safety among our university community. In addition, I call your attention to resources listed at the end of this statement. 

With all this in mind, during the semester we have received feedback indicating we can improve. I am grateful for the feedback from multiple sources and hope members of our university community always feel safe to speak up. Based on the information provided, and with the unanimous support of the President’s Leadership Council, I have appointed an ad hoc committee of five highly trusted individuals that represent multiple campus constituencies and a diversity of cultural perspectives. 

The goal of the committee is to review the policies, procedures, and supervision of all clubs and associations to determine whether changes in policies and their implementation can be improved. I will report back to the university community once we have identified needed changes to our policies and practices. I have not put a specific time constraint on the committee as I want them to be able to be as thorough as necessary. However, I expect to be able to report back to you their findings and recommendations before fall semester begins. 


Dr. Eric Denna, Acting President

Southern Virginia University

Safety Resources

Our Recent Steps to Address Psychological Safety