August 30, 2005
To keep you apprised of major University news, I am forwarding two statements issued since Sunday evening by the University's Rector and President. Their statements address several racial insults that were directed toward African-American students over the weekend.
Students, faculty and staff have responded to these incidents with outrage and at the same time, with sincere support and concern for the students who received these insults. Students have come together in productive, compassionate ways to show solidarity against those individuals whose actions are a cowardly attempt to undermine our community of trust.
Our focus is to ensure that we come together as a united University to express our concern and emphasize the character that defines us as a community, while isolating the few committing these acts. As you talk with your sons and daughters, know that their safety is paramount and that our efforts must target those who want us to direct our energy in nonproductive ways. You play a critical role in helping us join together in alienating those who seek to separate us.
We are encouraging students to report to the University Police or the Dean of Students any incidents where they witness or personally experience derogatory remarks, whether yelled from a passing car, written on property, or otherwise conveyed. Increased reporting of such incidents can contribute to solving them.
We hope you find this information useful as you talk with your sons and daughters. Parents are a vital part of our extended community, and we are grateful for your interest and support.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer