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 Tuesday, March 8, 2005 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Issues Update

I'm sure that all of you are aware of several important issues that the University is dealing with. I also realize that the flood of reports, from both internal and external sources, may seem overwhelming at times. I'd like to take this opportunity to address three top-priority issues.

First of all, it is with regret that I learned of President Hoffman's decision to step down. I have truly enjoyed working with her over the past five years. She has provided crucial leadership at a time when the University faces enormous challenges. Through it all, President Hoffman has acted in the best interests of the University. Even now, as she announces her decision to step down, her primary concern is what's best for the university. We will miss her energy, her ideals and her commitment to ensuring the future of the University of Colorado.

Racial Incidents

I am greatly saddened and deeply concerned about recent racial incidents that have occurred on our campus. Racial harassment denies students the right to an education free of discrimination. An educational institution has a duty to provide a nondiscriminatory environment that is conducive to learning. I want to emphasize that the University will not tolerate unacceptable or illegal behavior and will take action to address recent incidents.

This is an important issue for all of us in the CU-Boulder community. In addition to the curriculum, students learn about many different aspects of human life and interaction from their educational experience. The type of environment that is tolerated or encouraged by an institution can therefore send a particularly strong signal to, and serve as an influential lesson for, its students.

The extent to which CU-Boulder students were involved in the commission of these incidents is not known and is under investigation. While it is important that we take steps to investigate incidents promptly, it also is important to address the personal nature of these incidents and the impact on our students, faculty, staff and guests of color.

We all can take steps to reach out to those affected to offer assistance related to their safety and well-being. It is not just the responsibility of multicultural programs, the Office of Diversity and Equity, and our faculty/staff associations for minority groups to do so.

Some of you may be wondering how you can help to create a more welcoming environment. You can start by speaking out against injustices that you may encounter. You can contact community members and offices and ask how you can help. You can participate in a diversity training activity, as an individual or through your department. There are many campus resources to draw upon. I want to emphasize that it is not "their" problem - it is "our" problem. Each of us at CU-Boulder has a right to expect a welcoming, tolerant environment on campus. Anything less shortchanges all of the members of our community.

Academic Freedom

Ward Churchill's comments on the 9/11 attacks have sparked fierce debate on academic freedom and tenure, the core tenets of every institution of higher education. The University is working to address the issues in the most thoughtful and equitable manner possible. I anticipate that discussion on the important issue of academic freedom will continue for some time on campus, among political leaders and within the community.

Grand Jury Report

President Hoffman has been responding to questions raised about an unsigned copy of the grand jury report on the football program that was leaked to the media. As I stated in a recent campus e-memo, please know that the Boulder campus is continuing to implement the sweeping reforms in athletics announced last May and we continue to foster a new environment of oversight and accountability.

In case you haven't seen them, following are President Hoffman's recent comments delivered at the state capitol on this issue.

Comments by University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman March 2, 2005

I regret how difficult the last 13 months have been for the people of Colorado, our lawmakers, the university community, our alumni and friends. I personally accept responsibility as the University system's CEO and understand that I am accountable for making the necessary and sometimes painful changes that need to be made.

To continue reading the full text of President Hoffman's remarks, please go to

Staying the Course

The University's continued vitality depends on the efforts of our community members and I greatly appreciate your efforts to keep the momentum going in our educational processes. Thank you all for your support and for your many contributions to the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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