Office of the Provost

PROVOST COMMUNICATIONS

Response to Hateful Incidents

Sept 5, 2017

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff,

I am pleased to welcome you all as we begin the 2017-18 academic year. I share the sense of excitement and anticipation that permeates the campus as classes begin and we look forward to the learning that comes from the open examination and exploration of ideas; exploration that ties us together as a community.

As the fall term begins, I want to affirm the University's deep commitment to welcoming and valuing all who are part of our community. Our community is built upon the shared values of respect for each other and thoughtful dialogue about ideas and beliefs, those we share and those where our views differ. This is fundamental to learning and that, of course, is our purpose in coming together.

Our society is marked by deep divisions. It includes individuals and groups who seek to intimidate those with whom they disagree or do not respect. Their goal is to threaten and even diminish our safety, respect for each other, and commitment to learning. As President Schlissel noted in his remarks at New Student Convocation last Friday, hateful graffiti on "the rock" at Washtenaw and Hill was intended to challenge the inclusion of Latinx faculty, students, and staff in our community. The University does not condone any such hateful acts. They are antithetical to our commitment to respect one another.

Our responsibility and our best hope for defeating such actions is to work together. We begin with the premise that we all belong at U-M, that we are here to learn from and with each other, and that we are a community in which each member is valued.

We know that our society's move toward a more perfect Union will include many challenges to respect and inclusion. Our response is and will continue to be an absolute commitment to welcoming students, faculty, and staff whose diverse experiences, beliefs, and backgrounds enable us to challenge the present and contribute to enriching the future.

Sincerely,

Martin A. Philbert
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs