To the SRU Community,
As I prepared for classes in the weeks leading up to today, I was stunned by the events in Charlottesville, VA, and could not help but be reminded of other recent events that could potentially impact the safety and well-being, as well as the perceived safety and well-being of stakeholders of the University. It is with these events in mind that I write this brief letter.
To students, colleagues, and friends and other members of our community, on behalf of the members of the faculty union, I state a resounding, “Not on our campus!” Please know that members of your faculty union, while we support free speech, are acutely aware of the harms that can be perpetrated through those words; and rest assured that we stand in solidarity with all people who feel marginalized, victimized, or otherwise inhibited in living their lives. We endeavor to create an environment that encourages respectful and meaningful dialogue and respect. We stand against hateful rhetoric and the use of words to demean, demoralize, threaten or frighten any member of our community.
As we begin this new semester, please join us in our endeavors toward inclusivity and the celebration of our diversity. Today marks the fifty-fourth anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, “I Have a Dream Speech.” King spoke of his hope that one day we would all be judged not by what makes us different from one another, but instead “by the content of [our] character.” Please join us in making Slippery Rock University a safe and nurturing space for all people, where we all learn from each other, in our difference and in our sameness.
Have a great year!
Colleen Cooke, Professor, Recreational Therapy
Vice President, APSCUF