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A Values-Affirmation Model for Higher Education Crisis Communication

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A Values-Affirmation Model for Higher Education Crisis Communication
Smith, Mariana
In May 2010, one of the most memorable higher education crises of the decade erupted, six blocks from the campus of the University of Virginia (UVa), when fourth-year student and women's lacrosse player Yeardley Love was found dead in her off-campus apartment. Hours later, her ex-boyfriend and fellow UVa lacrosse player George Huguely V was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. This incident—the high-profile murder of one student by another—and the immense media attention and public scrutiny that it garnered, required the University of Virginia to engage in crisis communication, to respond to a chaotic situation in the hopes of restoring order and regaining legitimacy through the use of appropriate discourse. Although a university is required to craft and deliver a public response to crisis situations, its spectrum of rhetorical strategies is often much narrower than that of a corporation experiencing a comparable crisis. Therefore, the project theorizes that during a student-driven crisis, effective crisis discourse focuses on addressing the values with which the public is most concerned and speaking in a direct and meaningful way about the issues that contributed to the crisis. This shift away from image repair and toward values–affirmation is expressed in the rhetorical tradition as a change in genre, a move away from apologia toward epideixis.
genre theory
higher education
image repair
organizational communication
Yeardley Love
Llewellyn, John T (committee chair)
Beasley Von Burg, Alessandra (committee member)
Roehm, Michelle (committee member)
2012-09-05T08:35:16Z (accessioned)
2012-09-05T08:35:16Z (available)
2012 (issued)
Communication (discipline)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/37429 (uri)
en (iso)
Wake Forest University

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