September 16, 2021

Dear CSU students, faculty, and staff,

I believe unequivocally that diversity and inclusion make our university community stronger and all our students, staff, and faculty have a fundamental right to feel valued and supported throughout their time at CSU. Hateful words, like those experienced on the LSC Plaza over the past weeks, far too often target LGBTQA+ communities, communities of color, international communities, communities of specific religions and spiritual beliefs, and more. This harmful rhetoric goes against our Principles of Community and we condemn it whole-heartedly. Even when hateful speech is legally protected, I urge everyone at CSU to use their First Amendment rights to counter speech that diminishes any member of our community.  I say to all who have encountered hateful speech, You are valued, you are respected, and we want you here.

All of us value our Principles of Community and proudly uphold them. Some groups you may encounter deliberately reject our Principles and try to bait individuals and universities through their speech. Their goal is to elicit responses that aren’t legally defensible, like assaulting them individually or removing their group from campus. Let’s not rise to the bait of hate-mongers. Instead, let’s raise our own voices together to counter hateful speech.

This fall, we launched the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging module to give students an opportunity to explore their own identities, learn about key concepts related to inclusion and belonging, and develop skills related to allyship, bystander intervention, and self and community care. If you do encounter hateful speech while on campus and need support, seek out a trusted friend, mentor, staff or faculty member. I also urge you to reach out to our many university-wide resources:

I applaud students who will exercise their First Amendment rights this Friday in an event on the LSC plaza and I am grateful to university leaders for their work to support our community, like our Ethnic Studies faculty who have posted a powerful response to white supremacist flyers on campus.  We can all act and speak out, individually and together.  Doing so is yet another way that Rams Take Care, Rams Take Action.