April 27, 2012
We encourage and appreciate spirited debate on a variety of issues, including those that may be controversial or provocative. The right to free speech is a cornerstone of this discourse. We protect this right. But we also hold our campus community to a high standard of respect and tolerance. Racist, religiously intolerant, or otherwise offensive or dehumanizing comments or depictions are beneath us. The overwhelming majority of our community conducts itself in a manner that respects the dignity and humanity of our fellow citizens, even when we disagree. Yet, this is not true of everyone. Periodically we see rare, but nevertheless disappointing, examples of offensive messages that are crafted specifically to inflame, rather than to educate or inform us. The values and principles that define us as a great university require a higher standard. In a real sense, those who practice our values win the respect and admiration of their peers, while opening eyes and minds to new perspectives. Those who do not are discredited and marginalized. This has been consistently true on our campus, and in the greater outside world.
As we enter the spring season, with its lively campus activities and events, we invite you to embrace the spirit of these principles, infusing empathy and integrity into your interactions. A foundation of mutual respect dignifies the message and the messenger.