Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

Message: Confronting racism and hate

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to share our profound sadness and concern at the events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, beginning Friday night. Like many of you, we were horrified at the sight of white supremacists with racist and hate-filled messages marching on a university campus. Even worse was the violence, injury and loss of life that ensued. It was a terrible weekend for Charlottesville and our nation, and a reminder of how much work we have left to do as a society.

The expressions of neo-Nazism and white supremacy at the heart of the weekend’s events are heartbreaking, sickening and unacceptable. There can be no place for that kind of racism and hate in a civilized society — and that includes at the University of Kansas.

Beginning Saturday evening, several KU offices and leaders have used social media to denounce the abhorrent behavior and statements of white supremacists and express concern for the victims. We want the people of Charlottesville and our colleagues at the University of Virginia to know they are in our thoughts, and their experiences will inform our efforts to confront hate and make our KU community more inclusive. Moreover, we support UVA President Teresa Sullivan in condemning the despicable acts and sentiments that have affected their community and our nation.

As faculty, staff and students return to Mount Oread this week, we will apply ourselves to discussing how we can continue to confront hatred and bigotry, both through our scholarship and efforts outside the classroom. More broadly, we will commit ourselves to our ongoing work to address diversity and inclusion on our campuses, and to ensure that all Jayhawks feel valued and welcome here.

The University of Kansas is a marketplace of ideas. We will – and should – have difficult conversations and disagreements with each other on complicated topics. But racism, intolerance and hatred – and violence borne of those views – are never acceptable at KU and, in fact, are antithetical to our values as a university. We pledge to work with all of you to ensure we live up to those values and do our part to condemn and confront prejudice and hate wherever they exist.

Sincerely,

Douglas A. Girod, Chancellor

Neeli Bendapudi, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for the Lawrence Campus

Robert Simari, Executive Vice Chancellor for the KU Medical Center and Executive Dean of the School of Medicine



One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
Chancellor's Vision

The mission of the University of Kansas is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

We will do that by raising the expectations we have for ourselves, the aspirations we have for our state, and the hopes we have for our world.

KU is in the midst of a comprehensive effort to ensure the university is ranked among the top tier of public international research universities.

Through Bold Aspirations, our strategic plan, we're changing the way we prepare students for success. We're fostering research and scholarship across all disciplines. And we're sharing the benefits of a flagship university with our state and world.

This effort is supported by Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, as well as our initiative to reduce administrative costs, Changing for Excellence.