June 8, 2020

Dear CSU Community,

I wish I did not have to send you this message. I wish I did not have to ask you to read it.

But I must. Please read this. It is incredibly urgent and important for all of us.

Over the weekend, I was horrified to learn about activity posted on a social media account that may belong to a member of the CSU community in which violently racist language was posted, then more disgusting racist and homophobic language was used to threaten commenters who objected to the initial post.

I am grateful to the CSU affiliates—and the members of the larger community—who made university staff aware of these posts. Thanks to their commitment to condemning hate, we were able to refer the posts to CSU’s Bias Assessment Team. (Please note the university’s portal for reporting incidents of bias of all kinds and on all platforms, here.)

Our Student Conduct Code explicitly cites “[v]erbal abuse, threats, coercion, or other behavior, through any method of communication, which threatens or endangers the physical or psychological health, safety, or welfare of any person” as grounds for the initiation of a student conduct hearing, which is a formal process adjudicated by the university’s Student Conduct Services.  Students who are referred for a hearing receive due process.  If found responsible for the behavior, they may be subject to disciplinary action by the university including suspension, expulsion, or, in the case of a newly admitted student, revocation of admission.

The social media posts I describe above have been referred to Student Conduct Services.

I am disgusted and angry that any member of our community would think such things, let alone think it acceptable to use their violent words publicly as weapons. The impact these types of posts have on members of our Ram family, and on all who are working so hard to foster and build a community that values diversity, equity and inclusion, is visceral and painful. The posts degrade our Black students, faculty, and staff and, in so doing, diminish all of us.

At a time like this, we must invoke and remember the names of a constantly growing list of recent victims of murderous racism:  Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Miriam Carey, Philando Castile, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Mya Hall, Atatiana Jefferson, Charleena Lyles, Trayvon Martin, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Breonna Taylor.

CSU is avowedly anti-racist.  We take incredibly seriously our responsibility to build a community that embraces diversity and prioritizes equity. And when individuals use racist words or actions to attempt to threaten our values and harm members of our community, we stand in solidarity to repel those threats.

There is much work to be done, in our community and across our country. I assure you all: CSU is up for the challenge.

Yours in solidarity,