November 16, 2016strong>



SUBJECT: Message to the Marist communitystrong>

In the past few days, there have been a few disturbing incidents on campus that I would like to address. For example, a swastika was drawn on a bathroom stall, and a woman reported being accosted with shouts of "Go back to Africa." Many colleges and universities around the country are reporting similar incidents.

These actions clearly violate Marist's shared values. As our Values Statement says, "We are a diverse community united by a shared commitment to the free exchange of ideas, consideration of the opinions of others, and civility in all our interaction." The conduct mentioned above is reprehensible and may subject individuals to disciplinary action. More importantly, it demeans our efforts at civil discourse, causes harm to members of our community, and embarrasses the perpetrators.

Last week marked the end of a difficult and highly contentious presidential campaign. As we prepare for the peaceful transfer of power that is a hallmark of our democracy, conversations about the outcome of the election and its impact on all Americans are taking place across our campus, as they are across the country. I applaud the vast majority of our students for modeling exactly the type of open dialogue that will foster greater communication and understanding between people across all ideological perspectives. However, harassment or hate-oriented speech and actions are not acceptable.

I encourage students, faculty, and staff to participate in today’s kick-off event for the Unity Project, and to constructively engage in a conversation that will no doubt continue for months and years to come.