University of Virginia Commitment to a Caring Community of Dignity and Respect

The University of Virginia is a caring community that aspires to treat every individual with kindness, dignity and respect, regardless of position or status. The University cannot realize its bold ambitions for excellence in teaching, research, public service, and patient care unless every member of its community embraces these values and promptly reports instances of misconduct.

The University encourages every member of our community to promptly report any instance of abuse or mistreatment of anyone by University personnel, including workplace bullying, to appropriate supervisors, unit heads, department managers or deans, or through the incident reporting system, with the full confidence that such reports will be treated seriously and investigated promptly and impartially, and without fear of reprisal or retaliation for making a good faith report.

One Year Update from President Sullivan

A year ago, we announced U.Va.’s Commitment to a Caring Community of Dignity and Respect. As part of this effort, University Human Resources launched this website with respectful workplace guidelines, resources to help teach and reinforce respectful behaviors, and an incident-reporting system.

In the year since we began, we have touched over 400 people in schools, units, and workgroups with Respect@UVa training, either instructor-led or online. We have facilitated 16 large-scale in-person sessions with groups like Employee Communications Councils, Faculty Senate, Medical Center managers, and others. Human Resources is preparing to survey those who have gone through training or used the system to determine the impact of Respect@UVa and how we can further improve our outreach and responsiveness.

We have also celebrated our successes. This Respect@UVa web site features selected Workplace Champions, nominated by their peers throughout the first year. We need to congratulate and honor those among us who stand out for their respectful behavior, and I encourage you to tell us about a Champion in your midst. You can send your nomination to

For U.Va. to become best-in-class as a respectful workplace, we need commitment from everyone working at all levels of the University. As president, I hold myself accountable to the Commitment to a Caring Community, and I expect all leaders at all levels of the University to do the same. We will take seriously and address complaints of disrespectful behavior, and we will not tolerate retaliation against an employee who reports an incident.

The respectful workplace initiative is just one component of the University’s focus on building a caring community and improving communication, appreciation of differences, and safety. The task force has developed a motto—”A Caring Community Starts with Me.” All of us should take responsibility for making this a caring community. Please take advantage of these resources. Together we can build a model of a caring community that befits a University already known for outstanding teaching, research, service, and patient care.

Teresa A. Sullivan