To all members of our Miami Community,
Over the past several weeks, campuses across the country have reported an unusual number of bias-related incidents. Miami is not immune; one example is the random posting of flyers last week promoting racist, misogynistic and homophobic views and ideas. Such acts understandably have created fear and fueled concerns among certain groups or persons on campuses across the nation, including our own.
At Miami, our individual and collective responsibility is to create and maintain campuses that are welcoming and inclusive for all. Harassment and discrimination based on one’s race, ethnicity, nationality, political beliefs, religion, gender or sexuality, or on any other characteristic which makes us unique, are antithetical to Miami’s core values, as defined by our Code of Love and Honor, and have no place on our campuses.
At the same time, the Constitutional right to free speech is essential to holding and expressing disparate beliefs and integral to academic freedom. Respecting this right to free speech can, at times, be difficult, particularly when we disagree or the speech is hateful or hurtful.
In a democratic society, the true test of our beliefs and values is how we express and respond to disparate views. We affirm the right and even the obligation of members of our community to speak out about issues with which they disagree, but to do so in a manner that is respectful and does not violate the rights of others. While we respect a person’s right to free speech, as an academic and intellectual community we must stand united against those who attempt to elevate themselves by degrading others, and must reject bigotry, racism, slurs, and hate speech. We should all choose to rise above exclusionary rhetoric, rather than respond in reactionary ways that give unwarranted regard to voices of intolerance.
Attacks or harassment directed at any individual or group are inconsistent with our principles and transcend ideology. Though our efforts may not always be readily visible or public, we will continue to respond thoughtfully to reports of discrimination, and in a manner consistent with our policies and the Constitution.
Our obligation as students, faculty, and staff is to listen, to understand, and to think critically about issues, especially those that divide us. Although we cannot prevent intolerance or bigotry, we all have the power and the responsibility to treat others with respect and to make our fellow students, faculty, and staff feel included and valued. This requires a high degree of rigor and intellectual integrity – to not only get the facts right but to understand multiple viewpoints on any given matter.
To facilitate and encourage opportunities for meaningful and respectful discussion of important issues, in spring semester the Provost’s Office will support a series of workshops organized and coordinated by our faculty that will address the value, importance and challenges of creating a truly inclusive environment.
We will also continue to take pride in the ways in which Miamians come together to support each other and in our rich array of multicultural learning opportunities.
We will stay the course toward inclusive excellence and remain focused on being the kind of community we want to be, rooted in education, discovery, inquiry, intellect, integrity, and character.
Love and Honor,
Gregory Crawford, President
Phyllis Callahan, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
David Creamer, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services and Treasurer
Michael Kabbaz, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success
J. Peter Natale, Vice President for Information Technology
Jayne Brownell, Vice President for Student Affairs
Tom Herbert, Vice President for University Advancement
Ronald Scott, Associate Vice President for Institutional Diversity
Deedie Dowdle, Associate Vice President for University Communications and Marketing
Robin Parker, General Counsel
Ted Pickerill, Secretary to the Board of Trustees and Executive Assistant to the President
Deborah Mason, Assistant to the President
David Sayler, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
Cathy Bishop-Clark, Interim Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Applied Science
Jerome Conley, Dean, University Libraries
Michael Dantley, Dean, College of Education, Health, and Society
Marek Dollár, Dean, College of Engineering and Computing
Chris Makaroff, Dean, College of Arts & Science
Matthew Myers, Dean, Farmer School of Business
Elizabeth Mullenix, Dean, College of Creative Arts
James Oris, Dean, Graduate School
Mike Curme, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students