Charlottesville, VA- Sallie Hamilton, the original owner of the Hamilton House on Chancellor Ave., was ahead of her time when she chose Charlottesville to build her boarding house.
Recently divorced and the mother of two young sons, she was one of five single women from 1900 to 1910 to build and operate boarding houses to accommodate students of the University of Virginia as a means of income and support for her family.
The Chancellor Street address abutted the newly established and exclusive Fraternity Row on Madison Lane and was directly across from the central grounds. The Delta Zeta Sorority purchased it in 1979.
In the early morning hours of September 17th, 2010, it was also the scene of the latest rape of a UVA student and DZ sorority sister.
September 17th, 2010 also happens to have been the first full day of a 10 day memorial to Yeardley Love, the lacrosse player who was brutally murdered in May.
The columns of the Rotunda were draped in black just hours before the vicious rape and assault in the backyard of the sorority house, an assault that the young woman has very little memory of.
Coincidentally, Yeardley Love was a sister at Kappa Alpha Theta, whose sorority, Saunders House, resides at 127 Chancellor Street.
A “stones throw away” you might say.
Eleven days earlier, a meeting between the parents of Virginia Tech Junior Morgan Harrington and UVA President Teresa Sullivan regarding safety on campus, was productive.
Morgan disappeared from the grounds of John Paul Jones Arena last October and was later found murdered in January after months of searching for her. According to her mother Gil, Morgan was also raped and beaten.
Blinkoncrime.com was alerted to the attack at DZ House by concerned parents of UVA students when they did not receive an email alert from either UVA PD or Charlottesville PD as they have in the past, after they were informed of the incident directly.
For several hours following the attack, police actually detained associates of the sororities within the property at the time of the incident,as well as those arriving home while Charlottesville Police were conducting interviews.
After a previous sexual assault on July 19th, 2010, students, faculty, and parents received this email within 24 hours of the attack:
To members of the University community:
The Charlottesville Police Department responded to a report of a sexual assault that occurred on Roosevelt Brown Blvd at 11:30 p.m. on Monday July 19, 2010.
The victim, a University of Virginia student, reported being approached from behind and was pushed into some bushes along the sidewalk as she was walking on Roosevelt Brown Blvd. After a brief struggle, the assailant fled on foot in the direction of West Main Street.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his early thirties. He is approximately five foot seven inches tall and weighs approximately 150 to 160 pounds.
Anyone having information related to this incident should call the Charlottesville Police at 434-970-3280 or Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.
Please use all of the resources that are provided to you as a member of the University community. If you are interested in learning more about what resources are available, including safety seminars and self-defense classes, visit our Resources web site.
A few key things to remember:
- Trust your instincts about a person or situation. If you feel uncomfortable, immediately report your concerns to police by calling 911.
- If you find yourself in a similar situation, turn over material belongings to the suspect and focus on his or her physical characteristics, i.e. clothing description, height and weight and last known direction of travel.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Do not let a cell phone conversation or listening to music distract you when walking or in a situation that calls for your full attention.
- Avoid isolated areas when walking alone at night. Use SafeRide (434-242-1122), walk with friends, or take the late-night weekend bus.
- Report suspicious activity or people immediately by calling 911.
The University of Virginia Police Department would like to remind you of several resources that are available if you believe you, or a friend, has been a victim of sexual assault. Sources of support available include the Office of the Dean of Students, the Women’s Center, Counseling and Psychological Services in Student Health, Charlottesville’s Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA), and the Victim and Witness Assistance Programs for the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Students wishing to pursue disciplinary action through the University can do so through the University’s Sexual Assault Board. For more information about the Sexual Assault Board, contact the Office of Dean of Students or by phone at 434-924-7133. Students are eligible to receive support through any of these channels regardless of whether they elect to pursue criminal, civil, or administrative remedies through the University.
Michael Gibson Chief of Police
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Sandridge approved distribution of this message.
Apparently, the concern for safety is shared after 2 shooting incidents occurred in the vicinity this past weekend, as addressed by Lt. Melisa Fielding, UVA PD:
“Safety is really a shared responsibility,” said Lt. Melisa Fielding of the UVA Police Department. ”You can’t put enough police out there to prevent all incidents.”
UVA police say that means getting the entire corner community on deck with keeping the nightlife area safe.
“Over the last year there have been enough incidents in this area to make one question how safe the community is,” Fielding stated.
On September 24, UVA held a Day of Dialogue: Toward a Caring Community.
The University’s new president, Teresa Sullivan, says this is a day of healing and of frank discussions about ways to prevent violence.
Frankly, I would like to discuss how after 3 known attacks, one resulting in a sexual assault after two attempts in the same evening in July, a rape and beating occurring at a UVA sorority is not worthy of an alert to students, faculty or parents?
One would think the start of preventing of such violence would be acknowledgment it exists, even when it happens “on grounds”.
Blinkoncrime.com was able to reach Carol Wood this evening, Office of Public Affairs UVA, while traveling for business:
..” I am out of town on business and have not heard of such incident but will look into it..”
Madeline Tanner, copy editor and contributing editor to this report.
Elizabeth Morton, contributing editor to this report.