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A special message regarding bias on campus

September 21, 2012

To the Boilermaker Community:

The recent incidents of provocation and hatred aimed at the African-American members of our Purdue community are deplorable. Members of the university administration, myself included, are deeply saddened by the events that took place this week on campus. Please know that the institution is responding with all available means.

To most in our community, it is unthinkable that Purdue University, as an institution devoted to civil discourse, free expression of ideas, and the education of the next generations so that they may participate fully in our democracy, would harbor individuals who mistake freedom of speech for freedom to publically denigrate entire groups, and thereby those individuals who identify with those groups. As Tyrell Conner, president of the Purdue Black Graduate Student Association, has so eloquently stated in recent meetings with Purdue administrators, incidents such as these prevent those in the African-American community, or any such targeted group, from feeling safe to pursue an education or live in this community.

Although it is easy to dismiss these particular incidents as the work of an individual or a small group of individuals, that is not the whole picture. Purdue is a community of thinkers, educators and learners committed to framing and shaping our campus culture. Neither blatant nor subtle acts of bias and racism aimed at an entire group defined by race, gender, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or gender expression—are acceptable.

I encourage each member of the Purdue community to help us create a culture of acceptance and inclusion on our campus. There are initiatives in place to help us do this, including the Purdue Diversity Roundtable, Project L.E.A.D., The Classroom Project/Diversity Faculty Fellows Initiative, DiversiKey and programs offered through the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. For a full listing of offerings this fall, visit the online program guide at: https://diversity.purdue.edu/programguide/.

Appropriate conduct and responses should start within each of us. If you witness or are the victim of an act of hate or bias—or if a student shares something with you—report it at www.purdue.edu/report-hate. So many incidents go unreported and this prevents us from responding in a timely manner. We also welcome your input, ideas and thoughts on maintaining an environment of collegiality, diversity and inclusion. Send us your ideas at notinourhouse@purdue.edu.

As a community, we will not advance until we can stand up and say - Not in Our House!

Tim Sands
Acting President