Dear Campus Community,

Student safety, whether on campus or on the road traveling to conferences or athletic competitions, remains of upmost importance to me and to UVa-Wise. The College has had several incidents of buses breaking down over the past few weeks. A tire blow out reportedly caused a fire in a bus Friday night carrying our softball team to Wheeling Jesuit in West Virginia. It was a frightening time for our team and coaches. We are grateful the players and coaches were able to escape the blaze that destroyed the bus.

I am meeting with the team and coaches when they return to campus today. I plan to listen carefully to their concerns and outline the following plan to address transportation safety.

As of today, UVa-Wise will ground its remaining buses when they return to campus. Out of an abundance of caution, we will have an independent shop examine each bus to ensure the vehicles are safe. We will arrange alternative transportation until we receive a clear report from the independent shop.

We understand that vehicles breakdown on route. However, we have had a rash of incidents lately. We want to be absolutely sure of the mechanical safety of our buses before we put the vehicles on the road again. We value all of our students and our Highland Cavalier family, and the administration and I are taking these steps to ensure our buses remain in solid mechanical order.

I will keep our students, parents, faculty, and staff aware of the situation in coming weeks. We are taking the transportation issues seriously, and we will work hard to resolve any issues that may arise.

Donna P. Henry