November 16, 2016
Dear Campus Community,
I have heard a variety of reports as to how faculty, staff and students are reaching out to one another to build community and support members of the campus community who may be experiencing fear and anxiety, due to the continuing uncertainties about their future following the recent election outcomes. I want to thank all of you who are doing your best to ensure that, despite the political polarization that may be around us, we will continue to be known as a campus community that cares about and seeks to respect and protect the rights and dignity of its members. Sadly, however, I have also learned of multiple instances in which CSUN students have been threatened or denigrated based on a perceived group identity. Even one instance of such behavior is unacceptable and counter to our university values, and will not be tolerated. As such, I am asking individuals who believe they have been subject to threats, including those that may be based on political beliefs, to immediately report the incident to CSUN Police Services at (818) 677-2111. Those situations determined to be a hate crime or criminal threat will be handled as such by CSUN Police. Those instances that do not meet the threshold as a hate crime may still be determined to violate university polices prohibiting discrimination, harassment, assault and the like, and they will be addressed through university disciplinary procedures as appropriate.
While addressing misconduct through formal administrative processes is important and will be undertaken by the university with diligence, at an individual level, I ask that we all do our part by speaking up and addressing actions that seek to marginalize and intimidate any member of the CSUN community. We should not stand by and allow such disrespectful behavior to go unchecked.
Finally, concerns have also been expressed about whether CSUN Police Services will do the work of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by inquiring into and taking into custody persons on our campus who may be undocumented. CSUN is committed to assuring an environment where all members of our university community are not hesitant or afraid to come forward or interact with our university police department for fear of intervention by ICE. I can tell you that the policy of CSUN Police Services is that CSUN police officers shall not contact, detain, question or arrest individuals solely on the basis of known or suspected immigration status. That said, as required by law, if a person is undocumented and has a criminal record, it is possible they could be subject to identification and arrest.
CSUN remains committed to diversity, to inclusion and to the power of education to positively change the world. Together we can move beyond the fear and instability that grips so many at this time. I am grateful to all of you who are taking extra steps to quicken the arrival of that day!
Dianne F. Harrison