University of Virginia students, faculty and residents attend a candlelight march on campus on Wednesday, August 16 -- four days after Charlottesville erupted in chaos during a white nationalist rally.

A campus healing

Updated 10:46 PM ET, Tue August 22, 2017

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Charlottesville, Virginia (CNN)The images of white nationalists marching across the campus of the University of Virginia, carrying torches and chanting racist slogans, scared Shanice Theodore at first.

She had trouble sleeping. Her mother had to give her pep talks.
But the 17-year-old, an incoming freshman at UVA, says she isn't discouraged.
Yes, she's aware that the university once didn't admit African-American students like herself. Yes, she knows that America still has racists who believe that white people are superior.
But the hate that came to Charlottesville only makes her more determined to succeed at school and become a lawyer.
"I'm actually more excited to come to show people like white nationalists that we are all supposed to be here," says Theodore, who is from Brooklyn, New York.
    As classes began Tuesday at this historic school founded by Thomas Jefferson, 10 days after deadly violence jolted the community, UVA is seeking not only to heal, but to learn from what happened.
    And some parents, dropping new students off at the school last week, trust the university to do the right thing but are still worried for their kids' safety. Steve Gallagher, an attorney from Alexandria, has urged his daughter to have a plan if a protest is looming or "if some bad guys come into town."
    "What we don't want as parents is to have this become the center for ... violent protest at the same time when they're supposed to be going to the university," he says.

    'We need to understand'

    As a public university, UVA does not require permits to reserve its open spaces, although campus police shut down the August 11 torchlight rally as an "unlawful assembly" after altercations broke out between protesters and counterprotesters.
    Some students say the thought of neo-Nazis holding protests on the Grounds, as they call their campus, makes them feel personally violated. One student leader struggles to find the words to describe her emotions.
    Malia Valentine, 18, of Yorktown, Virginia, and her parents move her into her new dorm at the University of Virginia on Friday.
    "I don't believe ... I can fully heal from those events without knowing that I am working alongside people in this community to make our home in Charlottesville a better place and safer place to live," says Maeve Curtin.
    The university has formed a task force to look at issues raised by the clashes. Marches and discussions are planned. And professors say they intend to address the history of race relations and of Charlottesville and the university itself in their classes to put the recent violence in context.
    Brian Balogh, a UVA history professor who also co-hosts "BackStory," a nationally syndicated podcast, says the clashes are an opportunity for some of his colleagues to explain the genesis of fascism and Nazism.
      "We need to understand how these ideas and some of these tactics were incorporated in American politics," he says. "It's particularly important to understand this history because many of the alt-right protesters claim to be super or hyper-American, yet their ideas did not originate in the United States."'

      'An invasion' of our space

      Black alumni have flocked to campus in recent days, volunteering their time to assure students that they are supported and valued.
      The outreach, called HoosAgainstHate -- Wahoos, or Hoos, are an unofficial nickname for members of the UVA community -- started when black graduates grew worried about students' safety after the white nationalists' protest.
      The graduates want to support current students and ease the concerns of incoming freshmen.
      "To see an invasion -- because that's what it was -- of our space ... I had to be here," says Monica Davis, an African-American graduate, to the group of fellow alums.
      "Some families do just need us to ... let them know there is love here," she says.