By Donovan McCargo
Bias Response Task Force, Co-Chair
Assistant Vice President & Dean of Students
A few days ago, my office received reports regarding several incidents of inappropriate racial references and the use of hate symbols. While these acts remain under investigation, such messages serve to counter our institutional values and commitment to diversity. These acts, regardless of the intent, are not proper for the higher education space and serve no purpose toward the education process.
While freedom of speech and expression are hallmarks of American society and democracy, it is important to remember that, though we may have various beliefs, ideologies and backgrounds, no one deserves to be intentionally demeaned or offended nor subject to racism, bigotry, discrimination or harassment.
Individuals within our community are responsible for these offensive acts, and not just these, but many others—some reported, some not. We should all be mindful that our words and actions carry lasting effects on real people on our campus. I am uncertain that we may be able to end racism, discrimination, bullying or other deeply held beliefs and actions that continue to divide our communities, but I offer the following ideas and advice toward making gains for strengthening our human bond:
1- Hold your friends and others accountable for saying or doing things that are intentionally hurtful toward others.
2- If not for the purpose of educational dialogue or discourse, be mindful and try to refrain from using terms, language and/or images that hurt people.
3- Report incidents of bias—i.e. racism, discrimination or harassment—or notify an office listed on the Bias Response website (www.kutztown.edu/deanofstudents).
4- Challenge your deeply held beliefs and ideals by getting to know someone who is different than yourself, either in your class, work, your living space or through getting involved on campus.
5- Be respectful and kind to yourself and others. It is an invaluable exchange for the human heart.
So many of us, myself included, love this place. I pray that KU continues to thrive as a place in which all who work, learn and live here can do so to the fullest extent possible. I wish you all the very best.