University of Nebraska’s president issued a university-wide email Friday saying he is “disheartened” at the treatment of some NU students of color and that he is listening.
NU President Hank Bounds nodded to events at the University of Missouri and throughout the country this week in saying that “even within a family, bad things can happen.”
NU is taking steps in the right direction, Bounds said, and he encouraged people to ask themselves what they can do to advance dignity and respect on Nebraska’s campuses.
“Our campuses must be diverse, inclusive places where all students and employees feel valued and respected, and where their concerns are not just heard but addressed,” Bounds said. “As family, we should expect no less. We are taking steps in the right direction, although we can always do more.”
This week, some University of Nebraska-Lincoln students launched a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #NotAtUNL to highlight racist social media posts. A Black Lives Matter protest is scheduled for next Thursday at the Lincoln campus.
UNL’s Institute of Ethnic Studies issued a statement in support of the students who plan to protest and the national Black Lives Matter movement.
“We denounce the racist, hate-filled language that has been directed at the protest’s organizers and supporters on social media,” the statement said. “We call for campus-wide solidarity and support of our students as they pursue social justice at UNL.”
****** Full text of the email below********
Nov. 13, 2015
To the University of Nebraska Community:
Seven months ago today, I was humbled and honored to join the University of Nebraska as president.
I wasn’t born here. But it didn’t take long for Nebraska to feel like home. That’s because all of you – and people across this state – have welcomed me, my wife and our children as though we were family.
And truly, that’s what we are. There are upwards of 65,000 of us – students, faculty and staff from all walks of life, each of us with a different story. But we have the University of Nebraska in common. That means we’re family. It means we have a responsibility to take care of each other. It means that when one of us is mistreated, we all suffer.
Events like those that have occurred recently at other higher education institutions around the country are an important reminder that even within a family, bad things can happen. I have seen news media accounts of the experiences of members of the University of Nebraska community. I am disheartened at the thought that some of our own have been treated this way.
These accounts – however rare – aren’t who we are. They aren’t what we represent. They have no place at the University of Nebraska.
Our campuses must be diverse, inclusive places where all students and employees feel valued and respected, and where their concerns are not just heard but addressed. As family, we should expect no less. We are taking steps in the right direction, although we can always do more.
I hope each of us will spend time asking ourselves what more we can do to make sure basic values like dignity and respect are reflected across the university. Sometimes, that might mean having difficult conversations. For family, it’s worth it.
I am listening to you, and I look forward to working together to build a University of Nebraska that all of us can be even more proud of.
President, University of Nebraska