Events of the past week; campus community's response

October 17, 2008

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

The administration understands and acknowledges the hurtful nature of the events and speeches that have occurred outside Halle Library this past week. Faculty and staff not fully aware of these occurrences should know that remarks many viewed as hate speech were directly and indirectly targeted towards persons known or perceived to be gay, lesbian, Jewish or Muslim, as well as others. This behavior is not what Eastern Michigan University professes in its institutional values,Campus Life Creed and Conduct policies.

The University will sponsor a tent outside Halle Library on Monday and Tuesday, October 20–21, 2008, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the same spot where the protesters convened. Our intent is both symbolic and educational in that the tent will include information and resources for faculty, staff and students about our commitment to diversity and the various programs through which we express it. Visitors also will have the opportunity to sign a banner about our University Creed(currently on display in the Student Center). Please stop by and encourage your students,colleagues and staff to do so, too. Refreshments will be available.

The Snow Counseling Center has agreed to fast-track any employee or student who could benefit from talking with a counselor about his/her personal experiences upon witnessing these events. Contact the Center at 487-1118.

Next, a variety of forums will allow for necessary conversations, now and in the future, about what happened. I will participate in a Town Hall forum on Wednesday, October 22 from 2–3:30 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium. The focus of this forum, "Beyond Tolerance," will allow us to engage in purposeful dialogue. Additional forums are in the planning stages and will include such topics as religious intolerance, freedom of speech and the role of the bystander.

Provost Don Loppnow has convened a planning committee that will communicate with the campus community once these sessions are scheduled. Please encourage student participation.

Susan W. Martin