Chancellor's Corner: Rejecting hateful speech

February 26, 2016

You may be aware that we had an incident of hateful speech posted as graffiti in a campus bathroom yesterday. This type of behavior is in direct conflict with our campus values. 

As I shared last spring, "From hateful messages written on white boards outside of residence hall rooms, to slurs uttered at parties or in public places on and off campus, to physical threats implied or stated directly, bias motivated incidents not only intimidate individuals, they threaten whole communities and classes of people – people who are our classmates, colleagues, friends and welcome members of our community." 

Once again, I call upon all members of our campus community to use the Report It website to help us track all of these types of incidents – whether it is vandalism or any other bias, harassing or sexual misconduct incident. To change the conversation on the campus, we need the whole picture – and we need everyone to take part. We are working hard to transform our community into one that is welcoming and inclusive for everyone and we are not going to let any such incidents slow our progress; instead, they will strengthen our resolve.

It does not matter who wrote the hateful words on the walls of a bathroom stall, we find speech like this reprehensible and demeaning to all members of our community and we completely reject it. We remove vandalism, not to hide it, but in order to not perpetuate hateful speech. Help us by reporting these messages. It takes a community to have a successful process for getting them erased quickly. 

You have heard me state many times that I believe our campus has work to do in improving our climate and culture. That work begins with people of conscience and character joining together to effect change, and to call out these hateful incidents for what they are. 

Please join me in changing the conversation at CU-Boulder. 

Philip P. DiStefano,
Chancellor