Letter to the Editor: 9-26-14

Recently members of Murray State University’s “Faculty Against Racism” conducted a demonstration to express their views and to show support for the Ferguson, Mo., community. Subsequently, racist postings with threats of violence directed at African-Americans on campus were anonymously posted on a social media platform that is not controlled or regulated by Murray State.

While it is unknown whether any members of the University community were involved in postings, we acknowledge the right given by the US Constitution for freedom of speech and expression. Nonetheless, there is no place on our campus for bigotry or violence against anyone.

These recent events have brought racism to the forefront at Murray State. These events also highlight the challenges that often occur when individuals choose to exercise their right to freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom to peaceably assemble. This dilemma subsequently raises questions on how the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion should respond to racist postings with threats of violence. Some have asked, what is the role of the PCDI?

The PCDI is a permanent and standing governance body that is housed within the President’s Office. The primary role is to make recommendations to the president relative to planning, developing, improving and evaluating overall diversity efforts at Murray State. The PCDI worked toward the creation of Murray State’s own Campus Diversity Plan taking into consideration the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Statewide Diversity Plan and has transitioned toward implementation and oversight of the Murray State Diversity Plan.

We support the efforts of any faculty, staff or student initiatives that are aligned with the following basic principles:

• Accept one another

• Learn from one another through civil discourse

• Create an atmosphere of positive engagement

• Challenge bigotry in any form

Murray State students and employees are obligated, regardless of their roles or responsibilities, to commit to and practice these basic principles of diversity.

Furthermore, adhering to these basic principles of diversity does not diminish any individual’s right to divergent opinions. In fact the PCDI feels that following these basic principles of diversity enhances the ability to have an intellectual community that is safe, productive and enriching for all involved.

 

Signed by President Bob Davies. Approved by the PCDI.

Ted Brown– Dean

Staci Stone– Assistant Dean

David Balthrop, Kathy 

Callahan, Bill Cassie, Reika Ebert, ZB Smetana, Sue Sroda, Paula Waddill, Pamela Wurgler– Department chairs