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McDonnell, U-Va. president to discuss Love slaying

Jenna Johnson

Tuesday, U-Va. President John T. Casteen and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will meet to discuss the murder of student Yeardley Love, allegedly at the hands of fellow student George Huguely. McDonnell and Casteen will address the media afterward, Post Now reports.

The two plan to discuss possible changes to the state law so school officials would be notified if a student is arrested.

It wasn't until reporters began searching public records that Casteen and other top university officials said they learned that Huguely, had been previously charged with an alcohol-related offense in 2008 near Washington and Lee University in Lexington, about 70 miles from U-Va.

Casteen said last week that he wants to create legislation that requires authorities to notify school officials if a student is arrested. Many colleges, including U-Va., already have an agreement with local police agencies to share information about students, but there is no law mandating it.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) has said he plans to take the lead on writing such legislation.

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In addition to pushing for new legislation, the university will also begin to periodically screen students -- especially student-athletes -- using a statewide court records database, Casteen said last week.

"We should be using it in a defensive way to protect students against anything that might turn up," he said.

Huguely is not the only U-Va. lacrosse player who has faced alcohol-related charges. Last week The Post reported that 8 of the 41 players on the roster of the men's lacrosse team, including Huguely, have been charged with alcohol-related offenses during their careers at the school, according to court records.

A university spokeswoman said federal privacy laws limits the disclosure of student records, but that the university properly followed protocol in handling cases that came to their attention. Student athletes who have an alcohol-related incident are immediately suspended from their team until a counselor clears them to return, said U-Va. Athletic Director Craig Littlepage.

This is not the first time university officials have worked with Virginia lawmakers to create legislation to curb college drinking.

In fall 1997, five Virginia college students were killed in alcohol-related incidents, including three Virginia Tech students who died in two incidents over Halloween weekend. The deaths prompted a state investigation into college drinking, and then-Sen. John Warner introduced legislation that specifically allows universities and colleges to contact parents anytime a student younger than 21 has an alcohol or drug violation.

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By Jenna Johnson  |  May 11, 2010; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  News Overload  | Tags: University of Virginia, VA Tech, Washington & Lee University  
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This makes clear that the so-called Honor Code at UVA is useless. Perhaps it has simply outgrown its time. What athlete will admit to a violation if he knows it means suspension from the team and possible expulsion? It seems clear that a culture once based on a deep sense of honor (witness the 18th century phenomenon of the duel) has given way to another culture entirely, where the almighty dollar and the importance of donations garnered from sports teams reign supreme. What happened to the Honor Code when Huguely beat up a sleeping male teammate? The university knew; certainly his coach did, and Huguely faced no consequences. If the University seeks a law to require crime reports from authorities, then the Honor Code era is over.

Posted by: JenniferA11 | May 11, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

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