President Tony Frank sent an email to students and staff members of Colorado State University addressing recent bias-motivated incidents involving members of the community.
Within the semester, CSU has experienced numerous bias-motivated incidents, including a fake noose targeted at a black resident assistant in Newsom Hall, “Hail Hitler” penned on a Jewish student’s dorm whiteboard and students in Durward Hall renaming a wireless network to “F*ck Jews.”
Communities affected by these incidents have gathered in solidarity to draw attention to the issues, including a march against anti-Semitism Wednesday organized by CSU Hillel, which serves as a welcoming environment for Jewish students on campus.
Yet, members of the community have urged the University to improve their communication around bias-motivated incidents that target an individual, group or community.
In response, Frank sent an email to members of CSU addressing CSU’s role in such incidents.
Despite the right to free speech under the first amendment, such incidents deflect from the University’s Principles of Community which emphasizes the importance of inclusion, integrity, respect, service and social justice surrounding the campus’s diversity, according to Frank.
Frank wrote how CSU takes acts of hate and terror seriously and believes it is the University’s responsibility to investigate and address any incidents publicly.
“While allowing hateful speech to occur as required by law, we can still publicly and strenuously disdain it when there is evident harm to our institution and its people,” Frank wrote.
Frank indicated another incident that occurred Thursday where a Middle Eastern student experienced “disturbing and intimidating behavior” directed at her by a community member not involved with the CSU.
“Such behavior is indefensible and utterly offensive to our community, which cherishes internationalism and diversity and is committed to inclusion and the safety of all people,” Frank wrote.
According to Frank, bystanders condemned the man’s behavior and inserted themselves between the man and the student. The bystanders proceeded to exit the bus with the student and walked her safely to her destination.
The student later reported the incident to the Colorado State University Police Department who effectively identified and cited the offender. The offender received an exclusionary order from the campus prohibiting him from entering CSU property.
“This doesn’t erase the fear this woman felt or the feelings she will continue to struggle with over this incident,” Frank wrote. “It doesn’t prevent such an incident from happening again, but it provides a model for all of us in upholding and defending our community standards.”
Frank described this incident as an outstanding demonstration of the power of bystander intervention. Frank linked information to Tell Someone, a service provided by CSU where members of the CSU community can discuss concerns about students or staff members.
“If you see something wrong, say something,” Frank wrote. “If you are concerned about someone else or need personal guidance and support, tell someone. Take care of one another, because Rams take care of Rams – and because it’s our job as human beings.”
Collegian assistant news editor Piper Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @piperldavis.