February 4, 2016
To: All students
From: Karen Warren Coleman, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services, and Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Subject: Supporting an inclusive campus community
Date: February 4, 2016
Yesterday, an article in BuzzFeed revealed offensive emails attributed to individuals who have been or are students at the University of Chicago and are affiliated with a fraternity. The language used is disrespectful and harmful, particularly to members of our Muslim and African-American communities and to women. The attitudes and views they express are unacceptable, violate the University’s core values, and conflict with our strong commitment to ensuring that people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives can thrive on our campus. As the President and Provost noted in a message to the community last November, inclusion has a particular and fundamental significance at the University of Chicago. The members of our University community are dedicated to making progress on these matters, but we know much more work needs to be done.
The University is working with all students to make sure that our campus respects these values. The upcoming survey focused on diversity, inclusion, and the climate for underrepresented and marginalized groups will provide a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the climate issues facing our campus, and will help us to develop the tools and resources needed for thoughtful solutions. We encourage you to take part in a series of climate survey forums that are open to all students and are hosted by various offices throughout campus. Your participation is essential in helping the University address these issues and move forward as a community. The schedule of forums can be found here: https://csl.uchicago.edu/node/129868
We have met with a number of concerned students in the last day who have shared helpful ideas for additional steps we could take. Campus and Student Life will continue to seek your involvement as we work together to ensure that our campus community is inclusive and welcoming.
Karen Warren Coleman
Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services
Dean of Students in the University
The following statement was issued to the Chicago Maroon on February 12:
Campus and Student Life continues to meet with concerned students to discuss how we can work together as a community to make progress on making our campus more inclusive. Through these meetings, our students have shared with us their pain over the AEPi emails. We have also heard that we were not fully inclusive in our earlier message to all students. We have apologized personally about this to the students we’ve met with, and would like to apologize to all of our Palestinian students for this omission. We strongly believe that we all must continue to work together on ensuring our campus community is welcoming to everyone. CSL staff at all levels remains committed to meeting with individual students and groups about issues of concern and constructive ways to move forward.