The University is aware of an incident that has raised concerns from a number of students, parents, faculty, staff and community members regarding a flier that appeared on our campus last week. The flier in question made allegations about a Stan State student’s involvement in an organization and related activities that some may find offensive. Fliers that did not comply with Stan State’s posting policy were removed. Please see a copy of the posting policy here. To our knowledge, the student named in the flier has not posted his materials on our campus.
While the issues and the facts in this matter are complex, I want to assure the campus that as soon as the University became aware of the flier that appeared on our campus last week, we responded promptly in assessing, monitoring and investigating the incident.
As President, it is my top priority to ensure the safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff, administrators and the community. To this end, the campus has been in contact and consultation with the CSU Chancellor’s Office, campus entities and community offices for updates and relevant next steps. It must be recognized that the University represents a microcosm of our society at large. As such, we cannot withdraw or suppress the viewpoints of others that do not violate the law or campus policy, nor is it in the best interest of the learning experience to do so.
I personally believe that the University should strive to be a guiding light that shines a path to be inclusive and affirming of all forms of diversity. I will continue to stand for promoting a warm, welcoming and respectful learning environment for everyone on our campus and in the community. Though it may be difficult to hear disparate viewpoints, it is ever more vital to remember that Stanislaus State and the CSU have an obligation and commitment to the founding principles of our American democracy—a democracy that upholds the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech, even when that speech may be controversial or offensive to others. Sometimes speech that occurs on campus is inconsistent with Stanislaus State’s core institutional values of inclusiveness, diversity and respect.
Let us also reflect on the fact that universities have a critically important responsibility in complex societies in their role in educating and preparing our future generations to become well-informed critical thinkers, leaders, professionals and successful members of our communities. We should further renew our pledge to work with all of our students, both in and out of the classroom, to learn to have respectful and constructive dialogues so that together we can build a community and society of greater understanding and peace for everyone.
Ellen Junn, Ph.D.