The following message was sent Wednesday afternoon to all Twin Cities faculty, staff and students from President Eric W. Kaler. The Campus Conversation is from 12-1 pm on Oct 6 in the Beacon Room, Recreational and Wellness Center
Dear Twin Cities campus community,
The "Paint the Bridge" incident has generated much discussion and debate. I have listened to many people in our community who hold a variety of views on the panel's message and on subsequent events. I know for many of you, particularly Latinx students, faculty, and staff, the words on the panel hurt and I have sympathy for the real pain, and even fear, that some have experienced; I don't want these feelings to be part of life at the University of Minnesota.
It is important to me that our University community function like a community, that we speak and listen respectfully to one another. This is particularly important and particularly difficult when we are in the midst of a hotly-contested election season. We must acknowledge these difficulties.
It is especially important for our University to respect political speech. It is at the core of our academic tradition, our political process, and the laws of the land.
But I'll say again that the University is also committed to honoring another value that is timeless: respect for all, no matter how others differ from you. Creating a welcoming campus climate is a high and longstanding priority of mine. Please join me, other senior leaders, student leaders, faculty, and staff in that effort. I hope we can move forward together using the events of the past days as an opportunity for healing and learning.
That's why tomorrow's Campus Conversation on Campus Climate is even more important now than it was when we scheduled it last month. I encourage you to join me at noon tomorrow in the Beacon Room in the Recreation and Wellness Center to engage in a meaningful conversation.
Eric W. Kaler