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Letter to University Leadership: Student Safety & Democratic Process

11/16/2016

The following letter has been sent to chancellors, presidents, and diversity officers at the 20 colleges and universities with the largest enrollment of Scholarship Foundation students:

 

 

Dear University Leaders:

We write to ask for your leadership in assuring the safety of students on your campus who are experiencing harassment, intimidation, or isolation as a result of their race, religion, country of origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other marginalized identities. In the days following the election, we have received a significant increase in reports from students that they are subjected to such behaviors from classmates and from faculty and staff. In some cases, we know that students are reluctant to report incidences and ask for help because leadership has been silent. Please consider something more than “business as usual” in restoring your campus to the values of diversity, inclusion, and full and safe participation in exchange of ideas and shared learning.

Here are actions we recommend you take immediately, if you have not already done so:

  1. Issue a statement from your office which expresses a commitment to diversity of thought, identity, and ideas.
  2. In that statement provide a clear way for students to report incidences which threaten or intimidate them on the basis of their identity.
  3. Establish a process for your staff to receive reports and ensure that they will be addressed promptly and in a manner which does not further isolate or threaten students.
  4. Widely publish and repeat this statement as publicly as possible (parents, campus security, area police departments, media) so that you have signaled an expectation for all.

We understand that you may have already taken some or many of these steps, however it is important that all steps be taken to keep our students safe in the coming weeks and years. The Scholarship Foundation and Diversity Awareness Partnership are ready to be a resource to you for training, facilitation, and strategy development as needed.  Our students deserve a commitment to democratic process that does not compromise their safety or their sense of identity and affiliation.

Sincerely,

Faith Sandler Reena Hajat Carroll, MSW
Executive Director      Executive Director
The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis   Diversity Awareness Partnership