Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
This is it – the last stretch of the school year! Excitement and stress levels are running high as final exams and due dates for papers and projects approach, and holiday celebrations follow right on their heels. We can all benefit from extending extra kindness, empathy and patience during this frenetic time.
There are opportunities and challenges ahead for many of us, including how we choose to respond to a provocative and controversial speaker who will be on our campus this week as part of nationwide college tour. Whether you opt to hear the views of Milo Yiannopoulos or not, supporting free speech is one of UWM’s core values. As a public university we will always be a forum for the free exchange of ideas, even if some of those ideas are disagreeable, controversial, or in conflict with the university’s other values. Permitting such an event to take place on campus, however, is not synonymous with support for or endorsement of the event’s content, and as members of this university, we have the opportunity to rise above a message that we strongly disagree with. Instead, we can focus on how to respectfully bridge the divides that face us and come together as the open, tolerant and inquisitive campus that we are. This is consistent with our Guiding Values, especially those that exemplify our commitment to an open, safe, and inclusive campus:
- Diversity in all of its definitions, including who we are, how we think, and what we do.
- Pride in our institution, our unique qualities, and our vital role.
- A caring, compassionate, and collegial community characterized by mutual respect and safety.
As we wrap up the year, let our Guiding Values light the way and propel our actions during the intensity of these next few weeks and into the new year.
Thank you for being part of our Panther family. I wish you well and urge you to find time to reflect, reinvigorate and restore during this final stretch.
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee