A Matter of Great Concern

03.20.08

Dear Colleagues and Students

An incident occurred on our campus yesterday that is an affront to our students, faculty, and staff and traduces all that we stand for as a University. In Stetson West residence hall, an individual scrawled a hateful, discriminatory, and racially motivated message on a hallway wall.

I am outraged by this incident and want to assure the members our community that this act is being addressed in a timely and aggressive manner. Public Safety is very actively investigating the circumstances and is making progress in identifying the individual responsible. The Student Affairs and Residential Life staff last night called a meeting of the residents of Stetson West, and I am pleased that our students, in addition to expressing their outrage, made some very positive suggestions about how to deal with such incidents.

In light of this deeply disturbing act, I am compelled to remind us of our shared commitment to embracing diversity in all its forms. We must foster a culture of respect that affirms that commitment, builds community, and expands our perceptions of the world. We must do this in all areas of the University—in the classrooms and beyond—and we must do so with vigilance and determination. We cannot and will not accept anything less.