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Gov: Police info sharing could prevent campus violence

Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell says better communication might have averted a fatal attack on UVA lacrosse player last year

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Better communication between police and college officials might have averted a fatal attack on a University of Virginia women’s lacrosse player a year ago, but such a policy has to be weighed against privacy and fairness concerns, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday.

The governor said Yeardley Love’s death last spring might have been avoided had university police and administration officials been told about her alleged attacker’s arrest in Lexington, Va., two years earlier.

On his monthly radio program on WTOP radio in Washington, D.C., McDonnell said he understood former UVa President John Casteen’s wish that police departments share such information with the school.

But McDonnell said converting it into legislation risks unfair consequences. A minor infraction might keep an otherwise outstanding student out of college. He said his administration has not reached a consensus on a policy he could support.

Love died of injuries she suffered in her apartment near the campus on May 3, 2010. Her former boyfriend, George W. Huguely, who had been a member of Virginia’s men’s lacrosse team, faces murder charges in the attack.

McDonnell said much of the information that Casteen was looking for was already public record. Huguely was arrested outside a Washington and Lee University fraternity house on Nov. 14, 2008, after a belligerent, drunken confrontation with a police officer. He pleaded guilty to public drunkenness and resisting arrest.

Had university officials known of the arrest, McDonnell said, what might they have done?

“Would they have expelled him on the spot?” he said. “I am very troubled by that case.”

He said the issue requires balancing the need for universities to be aware of potentially violent students or abusive relationships from incidents that occur off campus with the right young people have to privacy.

“Young people make mistakes. They do stupid things,” he said.

On another issue, McDonnell said Virginia doesn’t need a law against predatory fuel pricing practices.

He noted that there is a state law that punishes price gouging in the aftermath of disasters such as hurricanes. But price increases resulting from market conditions such as the recent run-up to $4 per gallon or more for regular gasoline shouldn’t be regulated by government, he said.

Prices have decreased from that high during the last two weeks.

“It’s supply and demand, basic economics,” McDonnell said, arguing instead for an end to the federal moratorium against oil and natural gas exploration off Virginia’s coastline. “The more supply we have, the more we have to meet demand.”

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