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Articles by Hawes Spencer

City Declares Perimeter Around Confederate Statues

Hoping to end the cat and mouse game in which bands of people remove the shrouds meant to mourn a woman and hide Confederate monuments, the City of Charlottesville has erected barriers and “no trespassing” signs Tuesday (9/19) around its statues of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

Finding that no laws were broken by removing the coverings meant to mourn Heather Heyer, prosecutor Dave Chapman had an idea. “I suggested the alternative of defining an area around a statue and declaring it off-limits.”

People Unshroud Civil War Statues Yet Again

For what may be the sixth time in less than a month, the shrouds meant to mourn the woman killed at a rally by white supremacists have been removed from Charlottesville’s statues of Civil War generals.

After the death of Heather Heyer, City Council decided to shroud the statues but people keep taking off the black plastic tarps. “Hail, Victory” Detective Jim Mooney was one of six uniformed officers who stood by Monday night and watched the tarp get pulled off of Stonewall Jackson, “Our hands are kinda tied. The law says they can do what they’re doing.”

UVA Dedicates Biggest Med Research Building To Pioneer

Last week, the University of Virginia re-dedicated its chief research building, originally named for a eugenicist, for a prominent African-American graduate of its medical school. Vivian Pinn began med school in the 1960s. “I sat in the back of the room and saw no one else that looked like me, and I was so discouraged, and I thought, ‘How am I going to function?’”

But Pinn became founding director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the NIH after her career mentoring students in pathology.

UVA Taps James Ryan As 9th President

The University of Virginia has named its next president, a first generation college student turned legal scholar and education adminstrator.

A #1 grad of UVA Law School who taught there for 15 years, he is James E. Ryan, and in the words of the UVA rector, "the perfect leader for this institution at this precise time in its history."

And Ryan says UVA must confront its history, "both the brilliance of Thomas Jefferson and the brutality."

Ryan has studied differing outcomes between Henrico's Douglas Freeman and Richmond's Thomas Jefferson High Schools.

Dialogue Follows Jefferson Statue Shrouding

About 24 hours after some University of Virginia students called Thomas Jefferson a rapist, a racist, and covered his statue in black, the statue of Thomas Jefferson became a place of calmer dialogue.

Recent graduate Alexia Richards didn’t like what she saw Tuesday night, “It just felt a little ironic having all of these UVA students protesting the founder of the school.” She returned Wednesday (9/13) for an event set up by a Republican who invited everyone, such as this Democrat, Jason Sheridan, “I was disappointed with what happened last night.”

Authors Say Sanders Voters Didn't Connect to Clinton

It’s been said that Hillary Clinton lost the election due to sexism and an FBI director’s comments. In a new book, two veteran reporters point the finger at the candidate and her failure to connect with fans of Bernie Sanders.

The authors say Clinton failed to deliver a coherent message, dodged the law with her email server, and let Wall Street line her pockets. Such factors led to what interviewer Doug Blackmon calls, “this enthusiasm gap.”

Craig Littlepage, ACC’s First African-American AD, Announces Retirement

After 16 years and 76 conference championships, the first African-American athletic director in the Athletic Coast Conference formally announced his retirement Wednesday (9/6) at the University of Virginia.

Age 66 and with 16 years at the helm, Craig Littlepage has served twice as long and is more than a decade older than UVA’s average departing AD. “So you’re looking at a guy that’s beaten the odds administratively, so it’s time to move on,” said Littlepage.

Dave Matthews Band Hosts Healing Concert for Charlottesville

People who live in and around Charlottesville, scene of last month’s deadly white supremacist rally, will get some musical healing in the form of a star-studded concert organized by the hometown hitmakers.

Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, and Ariana Grande are among the performers at Scott Stadium on September 24, a concert hosted by the group that still makes its home in Charlottesville, Dave Matthews Band.

Statue Foes Talk Toppling As Suit Progresses

Later today [Tuesday, 9/5], the Charlottesville City Council is expected to vote to sell its statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. The plan, however, could get derailed by the same lawsuit that has, thus far, successfully blocked removal of the city’s statue of Robert E. Lee.

Over the course of two hearings, the judge has hinted that he might rule that state law prevents moving war statues.

Did that encourage plaintiff Charles Weber? “Of course-- ha, ha, ha.”

Suit Seeks Proof of Charlottesville Stand-Down

The African-American man suing Charlottesville and Virginia State Police for injuries received during the deadly August 12 white supremacist rally says he hopes to prove that police were following a stand-down order.

According to his suit, 33-year-old restaurant worker Robert Sanchez Turner looked up-- and as he was pelted with canes, urine, and pepper spray-- saw officers do nothing to intervene.

"I'm here standing so we all can get answers."