Dear Hokies,

We don’t expect perfection, especially when emotions run high after a hard-fought, long-sought victory at Lane Stadium. We all make mistakes because we’re human. And as a university community, we appreciate that tripping up is one of the most powerful ways we learn to be better.

It’s with that sentiment that I write to ask for your help and call us all to remember what Virginia Tech stands for. We are a community where virtue counts, graciousness wins, and other-centered behavior is a way of life.

This past game day included behavior that countered our long-held commitment to the highest standards for ourselves and our community. From the obscenity hurled from a car at North Carolina fans eating lunch outside on Main Street, to drunken disruptions for families sitting adjacent to the student section, to outright disrespect of personnel working at the game, we fell short this week. I heard from too many disappointed students, alumni, and other Hokie faithful who witnessed behavior completely at odds with a “Hokies Respect” reputation that took decades to build.

It’s not lost on me what we’ve all been through these past 18 months. Some of us have felt cooped up, and the game was one of our first times together in such a fun atmosphere. But remember who we are. Each of us and all of us together represent one of the finest institutions in the world — known for our commitment to a motto that calls us to put others first, no matter the context, even a football game.

I recognize that most of us celebrated our team’s outstanding effort with the best kind of passionate exuberance and enthusiasm. Yet with any community, we are in it together for the good and in the bad. It’s for this reason that I ask all of us to set a high standard of respect and decency worthy of being a Hokie. At the same time, Virginia Tech will use our student conduct process — whether in the stadium, elsewhere on campus, or in our community — to hold individuals accountable whose behavior violates our Code of Conduct. Please speak up when others aren’t living up to Hokies Respect.

It is a privilege to attend Virginia Tech — and our reputation of character was built by those who came before us. We must carefully steward that gift both because they made us who we are — and because you are making us who we will become.

I believe we can learn from this past week, and I trust we can do better. Let's hold ourselves to the highest standards of respect and care as we cheer on the Hokies and beat Middle Tennessee State.

With hope and Go Hokies!

Frank Shushok Jr.,
Vice President for Student Affairs

Share this story