Ensuring a safe and welcoming learning environment

Apr. 18, 2017

An Important Message to the Campus Community

Dear Campus Community,

I write to our campus community in light of recent events and to communicate some important information.

First, ensuring campus safety and the well-being of our students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members is of paramount importance to me and my leadership team. Our campus has zero tolerance for violence and will always work collectively to protect and safeguard our students and campus community. In that spirit, and in response to the unease that has been communicated to me and others on our campus, I have asked our campus leadership, including our University Police, to redouble their vigilance in working to ensure a safe and welcoming learning environment.

Second, we at Stan State cherish and uphold our core commitment to diversity and inclusion. As a community, we expressly and directly reject acts of racism, prejudice and intolerance. This strong stance for diversity and inclusion is clearly enunciated in multiple campus statements and resolutions, such as Respect for Campus Diversity of all Members of Campus Community (Sense of the Senate 10/AS/10/SEC). Reflective of this strongly articulated commitment, and in collaboration with the Academic Senate, last fall I convened our President's Commission on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI) and charged the commission to lead the establishment of a campus-wide institutional plan for diversity and inclusion. The PCDI and our entire campus community recognize our commitment to free speech and the 1st Amendment. In particular, we support the exchange of divergent views in the search for knowledge. We seek to balance this commitment with our core values of diversity and inclusion. As part of its work, and to assure this balance of free expression and a welcoming learning environment, PCDI and campus leadership will promote seminars, trainings and programs designed to help our campus community understand our shared values and establish effective strategies for addressing acts of prejudice and intolerance. To accomplish this, it is critical that our community address the underlying mindsets that endorse these acts.

Third, if you feel unsafe or observe anything of concern, we encourage you to contact theUniversity Police Department (phone 209-667-3114; Public_Safety@csustan.edu). In case of an emergency, call 9-1-1. The StanCares team is available to address the needs of students who have a concern or need support and guidance (contact Jill Tiemann-Gonzalez, Judicial Affairs Officer, 209-664-6700; stancares@csustan.edu). Additional resources are available through Psychological Counseling, which provides professional, ethical and confidential psychological counseling to students (209-667-3381; Vasche Library Building, Room L185).

As I have shared with you in an earlier message, our collective future lies in the hands of our students. We as a community want that future to be safe, secure and welcoming. Please join me as we strive to build more supportive mentorships, enhanced friendships and constructive relationships across our campus and in our community. We must commit to our collective efforts to educate, model and learn. We can achieve this by promoting respectful, constructive and peaceful dialogue and interactions with others, and by building a society and ethos of greater understanding and harmony for everyone.

Ellen Junn, Ph.D.