August 16, 2017
Dear CSUN Community,
Like so many of you, I continue to grapple with the events of Charlottesville, Virginia, and the blatant display of racism and violence by those who actively seek to corrode our core values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all people.
In a time when we are forced to confront historical roots of oppression and when healing is needed most, there must be no ambiguity as to where we stand. There is no room for moral conflict when it comes to denouncing and repudiating white supremacists, including neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups. Anything less than unequivocal condemnation is indefensible, and we should never hesitate to call out hate and bigotry - a hesitation unfortunately on clear display from the current administration.
At CSUN, we remain resolute in our commitment to addressing bigotry whenever it arises on our campus or within our communities. The university is strengthened by a shared understanding and appreciation of the benefits and function of diversity, and we will persist in reaffirming the worth and dignity of every member of the university community.
Indeed there will continue to be moments when we are tested on the boundaries of freedom of speech and assembly; and in those same moments, there will be opportunities to speak out against any and all injustice, both large and small.
As we welcome new and returning students to our campus in the coming weeks, let us be reminded that diversity itself cannot be taken for granted and must be sustained with intention. I encourage you to take a moment and reach out to those who may be most likely to experience acts of intolerance - students of color, students of Muslim or Jewish faith, international students, LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, undocumented students, students with opposing political views and others - to let them know that they are a valued part of our CSUN community and they can count on your support. It is also important to be in solidarity with the many individuals, from all backgrounds, who use their voice to speak out in support of tolerance and respect, and who oppose violence as a means of expression. During these challenging times, it is imperative that we remain champions of diversity over division.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.