Message to Faculty, Students, and Staff about Sunday’s Demonstration

January 30, 2013

To:         Faculty, Students, and Staff
From:     Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Provost, and Karen Warren Coleman, Vice President for Campus Life
               and Student Services
Subject:  Sunday’s Demonstration
Date:      January 30, 2013

Many of you have seen news reports, YouTube videos and the University’s initial statement about a protest and the resulting arrests Sunday at the Center for Care and Discovery.

The altercation that ensued is an upsetting event that challenges the University on multiple levels. In addition to the protesters, police and University staff involved in the incident itself, this episode touches many others and raises questions of deep importance to us all.  It brings into high relief our values of free expression and respectful dissent. It also requires us to look again at what it means to be a member of the University community and the neighboring communities in which we all live, and how those two interact.

Conversations have sprung up around campus about this, and many more will be taking place in the days and weeks to come. There are several processes underway to examine the incident itself, among University leadership, University of Chicago police and civil authorities. Supplementing the processes in place, we are initiating a transparent, faculty-led dialogue about University values that will unfold in the coming weeks.

No undertaking of this sort will yield easy answers; the questions are complex and multi-faceted. However, we have a responsibility as a community to examine our actions and beliefs in the light of our aspirations.