Students, faculty and staff,
I wake up every morning thankful for the opportunities of freedom of thought, the opportunities we have to continually learn and expand our horizons through new knowledge, and the opportunities to apply that learning to better our country and world. I am thankful for each and every person in our community, for your intellectual, emotional, creative and physical contributions to our university -- and for the opportunity to change the world for the better every day through the University of Nebraska here in Lincoln and across our statewide campus.
I am writing to you today to encourage civility and respect in the wake of what has been described as one of the most challenging national election cycles in our nation’s history. Regardless of differences in political viewpoints, who one voted for or supported for president or the backgrounds or various identities shared so richly among us, we are all extremely fortunate to be a part of the University of Nebraska community. While it would be unfair to say that this is an unprecedented time since we have not experienced all of the previous conflict and controversy in our history, it is fair to say that the current time is one that appeals to the highest need for dignity, respect and civil discourse for all.
Disagreements and alternative points of view are to be expected, and in fact are encouraged as part of a vibrant university community where robust dialogue is integral to the mission of teaching and research. Differing viewpoints, disagreements and robust dialogue, however, do not allow for and should not lead to harassment of individuals or groups on any basis. Unfortunately, in the past few days, we have been made aware that some in our community have felt unsafe or intimidated as a result of words and actions from others.
Every student, faculty and staff member has a responsibility to help maintain a safe and respectful university community for all.
I would encourage each of us to reflect on our university’s core values listed here, put in place in 2006 and expanded this year to emphasize that our commitment to diversity and inclusion “requires each of us to continuously ensure our interactions be respectful, protect free speech and inspire academic freedom.”
Upholding this commitment is not only core to our mission. It is integral to our very existence as a university.
For anyone who needs support, the university has specific resources available. These are listed at the end of this letter.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is and will continue to be an ever more inclusive, supportive and welcoming institution and community, and we are each obliged and committed to creating and upholding this type of environment for all in our vibrant community of individuals from 136 countries, all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, and 92 of the 93 counties across the great state of Nebraska.
There is indeed no place like Nebraska, and I thank you in advance for sticking together through all kinds of weather. You know how the rest goes.
Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.
OASIS (Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services) http://www.unl.edu/oasis/
International networking groups: http://isso.unl.edu/connect.unl
International student and scholar office, main line: 402-472-0324; consultation line: 402-472-5163
http://hr.unl.edu/eap/ (for employees)
To report an incident: http://www.unl.edu/tips-incident-reporting-system
Dean of Students: 402-472-2021
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs: 402-472-9685
Office for Student Assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org