Published: Oct. 8, 2019

With hundreds in attendance, in-person and online, Chancellor Philip DiStefano today delivered his pre-scheduled, annual State of the Campus address. Introduced by Student Body President Ryan Passas, DiStefano began by discussing the racist incident that occurred recently on the CU Boulder campus.

“We talk a lot about ‘shaping tomorrow's leaders,’ but sometimes tomorrow's leaders shape us, and this is one of those times,” DiStefano said during his speech. “On Sunday, racist language was directed at two of our students by someone who is not affiliated with our campus, and that is and was absolutely unacceptable.”

DiStefano has instructed his leadership team, led by Provost Russ Moore and Chief Operating Officer Kelly Fox, to work with student leaders to immediately begin a review of the campus’s policies, trainings, reporting practices and campus awareness efforts. 

“Our goal is to ensure that every person at CU Boulder has a safe, welcoming and supportive learning environment—and that racism and harassment have no place to hide,” DiStefano said.

Campus leaders and the Black Student Alliance have a meeting scheduled for Oct. 9. By the end of that meeting, DiStefano told the audience he would like to have a timeline of next steps, and an update will be provided to the campus.  

Toward the end of the event, a large portion of the student audience peacefully exited the venue, the Glenn Miller Ballroom at the University Memorial Center.

“As representatives of the student body, it’s always our duty to advocate for students, and we recognize and appreciate that leadership—especially the chancellor—is hearing students’ requests,” said Passas, reflecting on the event. “It was a really beautiful moment to see students come together and for our administration to recognize and hear their collective voice.”

After a 25-minute speech, also discussing a changing student body and how the university is working to meet needs in and outside of the classroom, a panel joined DiStefano to discuss resources for students. DiStefano also took questions from the audience during the panel discussion about diversity and race relations on campus.

Panelists included Scott Adler, dean of the Graduate School; Katherine Eggert, senior vice provost and associate vice chancellor for academic planning and assessment; and Jennifer McDuffie, associate vice chancellor of student affairs.

Also during the event, DiStefano and the panelists talked about the year’s accomplishments among CU Boulder students, faculty and staff members. The address highlighted the innovative spirit of the campus, the campus’s top research reputation, outreach partnerships across the state, the changing ways in which students learn and more. 

Emphasized was the growing need and availability of mental health and support services at CU Boulder