|Council of Deans issue statement on campus climate|
As members of the Council of Deans at the University of North Dakota we express our firm and unambiguous condemnation of the recent acts of bigotry and discrimination that have taken place on our campus. These acts are a violation of the Code of Student Life of the University, the UND policy on harassment and discrimination, and a failure to understand the fundamental purposes of liberal education. We join the UND president and provost in making it abundantly clear that this sort of behavior is not acceptable at any level; it is not funny, it is not frivolous, and it will not be tolerated. Harassing, hateful behavior targeted at individuals or groups because of their gender, race, religion, national origin, color, disability, marital status, pregnancy, age, ethnicity, or sexuality is unlawful and wrong.
We regard the threats to a safe and welcoming learning and living environment to be incompatible with our educational mission. Therefore, when such threats arise, there must be an educational response as well as a disciplinary or legal response. These recent events cause us as a university to continue to evaluate our current curriculum and educational programs to prepare our students to act responsibly in a diverse and democratic community and society. To this end, we are working with the University community, the provost, and the president to continue to find effective ways to address this challenge.
As campus leaders charged with responsibility for the academic and student affairs mission of the University, we are determined to work to create a safer and more welcoming learning and living environment for all of our students, faculty and staff. While there is a legal dimension to these acts that may require a law enforcement response, it is the practice of the University to make it clear to everyone that we will enforce our policies and, where appropriate, apply sanctions independent of the decisions of law enforcement. -- Council of Deans May 21, 2008.