Friday, September 23, 2005

President Coleman Writes Letter to University

Recently, concerns have been raised by members of our community about incidents that have targeted our students based on their race or ethnicity. We, too, are deeply concerned about these incidents. Our University is constantly striving to create a community that embraces diversity and fosters a climate of respect, tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, civility and safety. We must not and will not tolerate actions that serve to target or intimidate members of our community based on race, ethnicity, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, religious or political belief, national origin, or other personal characteristics. When we learn of such incidents, we have a responsibility to address them promptly through education and dialogue and, where appropriate, disciplinary sanction or criminal prosecution.

We have no doubt that incidents of bias are more common in our community than official reports would indicate. It also seems clear that we could do a better job of communicating to students and other community members the processes and support structures that already exist for reporting hate-related incidents and directing community members toward campus resources. We have asked our staff to pull together a more comprehensive communications effort to achieve this goal and make our processes more transparent and accessible.

In 2004, President Coleman charged the Campus Safety and Security Advisory Committee (CSSAC) to consider ways to address hate incidents, including exploring the creation of a comprehensive reporting mechanism and planning strategies for increasing awareness of the issue. Because of leadership changes the committee did not complete its work in this area; but we have asked the group to put this at the top of its agenda for the current year. We look forward to seeing CSSAC's recommendations.

We hope and expect you will help us work together to create an inclusive community that is welcoming and respectful of all its members.

Sincerely,


Mary Sue Coleman, President
Edward M. Gramlich, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs
Royster Harper, Vice President for Student Affairs
Lester P. Monts, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

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