Photo from above of VCU Commons area.

A tragic loss in the VCU community

We are very sad to share that VCU student Shawn Soares died in a traffic accident Thursday evening.

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To the VCU community:

We are very sad to share that VCU student Shawn Soares died in a traffic accident Thursday evening along the 300 block of West Main St. The Richmond Police Department crash team is investigating the cause.

Shawn’s death is tragic and heartbreaking. I knew Shawn and worked with him on many issues. He was an exceptionally positive force in our world and was living to make the lives of everyone better. He was one of the best students I’ve ever known.

On behalf of the entire VCU community, we extend our most sincere prayers and condolences to Shawn’s family, friends and all who knew him.  

As we grieve together, please know that University Counseling Services resources are available to students who need assistance. Students can also use resources through our Dean of Students OfficeTimelyCare and You@VCU

VCU faculty members and staff can access a list of support resources on

Pedestrian and vehicle safety

It is clear that major change is needed to the city streets and sidewalks on and adjacent to our campuses. The university is 100 percent committed to making improvements and is counting on the city to partner with us.

Work has already begun on immediate and long-term changes. Since earlier this semester, VCU Police have dramatically increased traffic enforcement, resulting in 695 traffic stops, 228 warnings, 811 citations and 61 arrests.

VCU has also hired an independent expert to recommend improvements. That report is due by July 1.

We expect recommendations to include changes to infrastructure for streets and pedestrian areas as well as to traffic patterns. These could include lowering speed limits, extending pedestrian crossing times, adding traffic-slowing street alterations and more. 

VCU will enact meaningful change to the city streets on and adjacent to campus through our partnership with the city. 


Michael Rao
President, VCU and VCU Health