KU Campus Intolerance and Disrespect: A Statement from the Faculty and Staff of the School of Public Affairs and Administration
Recent events on college campuses around the country and here at the University of Kansas, particularly the Town Hall Forum that took place on Wednesday, November 11, challenge us all to reflect seriously upon the racial and other forms of intolerance and disrespect that many members of our university community experience on our campus. We must all consider the role we should play in addressing that problem.
As we embrace this opportunity for thoughtful reflection within the School of Public Affairs and Administration, the fundamental starting point for us is our deep appreciation and gratitude for the presence of students who add critically-important diversity to our campus, and for the broadly-enriching contributions they make to the KU community. Our bold aspirations as an institution are inextricably linked to their presence and what they bring to this university; the excellence we seek as an institution is not possible without them.
We applaud the courage of those members of the KU community, particularly the students, who shared their painful and heartbreaking stories of exclusion, insult, threats, and disrespect during Wednesday's Forum. Their willingness to tell those personal stories in a public setting not only demonstrated real strength, but should also provide the spark for action that will produce meaningful change. Those powerful narratives paint a picture of an environment that is unacceptable – an environment that we must all work aggressively to transform.
We embrace the call, from those Forum speakers and others, for an improved campus climate in which every member of our campus community feels welcomed, valued, and respected.
We thank Chancellor Gray-Little for convening and moderating Wednesday's Forum, and we endorse her commitment to lead a university-wide effort through which “KU will be a leader in how universities address this challenge.” We embrace this opportunity to join the Chancellor and the rest of the campus community toward that end.
Finally, while the School of Public Affairs and Administration is proud of its longstanding commitment to educating ourselves and our students regarding matters of social equity, we will seize this opportunity to recommit ourselves to embedding those social equity principles – equality, justice, and respect – deeply within our undergraduate, graduate, and professional development programs. We will also work to ensure that our own School climate is one of dignity, welcome, and respect for all within it.