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From the Other Side of Virginia Union's Fence

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For 145 years Virginia Union University has been a pillar of the Richmond community. The university has educated several prominent Richmond residents, lawmakers and even a former governor. Virginia Union alumni are all over the city of Richmond in key areas. We are the community. To suggest that the addition of a fence to the campus is shutting the university off from the very community we have always served is both offensive and wrong (“Don't Fence Me In,” Arts & Culture, Aug. 25).

This past year students at VUU logged almost 4,000 hours of community service in the city of Richmond. Of historically black colleges and universities, we were the only one in the state named to the honor roll of community service volunteers. Does that sound like we're shutting ourselves off from the community?

Contrary to the author's view and despite that Style Weekly was told when a reporter contacted me that the fence was put up as a continuation of the fence in the back of the campus that has existed for several years ... despite that your reporter was told that the fence clearly delineates the campus and adds to its aesthetic appeal, you still chose to make the determination that the fence was put up for security reasons. Well, that is Style's interpretation. Virginia Union's truth is what I stated above. One of our core values at this institution founded on the site of a jail for runaway slaves is to “give back.” We will continue to do so. Perhaps, our continued work with agencies such as the Special Olympics, the Richmond Public Schools, Project Homeless Connect, the Science Museum and on and on could be the focus of this author's next article as opposed to his very wrong opinion about a fence.

Shena L. Crittendon
Director of Public Relations
Virginia Union University

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