UNI Planning a "Day of Solidarity" in Response to Hate Messages

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Dear UNI Family,

As I am transitioning back into the office following my medical leave, I want to update you on a very important matter. As you may be aware, about ten days ago the campus community was subjected to a series of racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic posts in social media. I have read the posts and they are indeed hateful and hurtful to our community. I commend those student leaders who brought these posts to the attention of University leadership and those faculty, staff and students who have let us know their outrage about them and have thoughtfully and caringly contributed to the community’s response.

To those who have been hurt by these expressions, I am sorry that you have experienced them. Though the entire community is diminished by hate speech, those targeted by it suffer most directly. We care about you, will support you in any way we can, and are committed to preventing any re-occurrence. To those who made the posts, know that the views you have expressed are inconsistent with our values as a community.

On November 6, we will observe a “Day of Solidarity” at UNI and, at noon, the community will stand together outside Maucker Union to demonstrate support for students and others who were victimized by the offensive, anonymous posts.  I encourage you to attend. All are invited to where black that day and t-shirts noting that "We Can Do Better” are planned. Thank you to the faculty and staff at the College of Education and Women’s and Gender Studies who have created this event.  More details will be available at the UNI website soon.

Other activities designed to support those who have been affected and to educate the campus community are being planned by the Northern Iowa Student Government, the Residence Hall Association, Campus Coalition Builders (NCBI) and the Center for Multicultural Education. Information about these will be posted soon as well. Thank you also to the student, faculty and staff leaders associated with these efforts.

We believe that an understanding and appreciation of society's human diversity is an essential component of an excellent education and a foundation for responsible citizenship and so, it is an institutional priority to value, promote and teach about diversity. In order to effectively teach about diversity, we must be a diverse community, where all are welcomed and each is provided with the support needed to achieve goals and attain success. We remain committed to these values and will continue to pursue their realization by all means possible.

Sincerely,

Bill Ruud
President