Chancellor’s Update: Care in the Face of Hate

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Dear UWM Faculty, Staff and Students,
Many of you have expressed concern that my last campus message – which came in response to a student carrying a sign with a swastika on it during an Israeli Independence Day event on our Milwaukee campus last Monday – inadequately addressed the significant harm that it caused. Please know I have heard you and acknowledge my message did not fully capture or reflect how deeply saddened, frustrated and angry I am personally, as a member of this community, that anyone would inflict such pain and fear on our Panther family. I am sorry.

I strongly condemn the swastika and other messaging that it contained for what it is – hateful, anti-Semitic and an affront to our University’s values and dedication to inclusivity and diversity. I am sick about this display and rise of anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism, not just on our campus, but across the nation and globe.

With further reflection on this incident, and its damaging impact, I recognize we must take a more proactive approach to preventing such incidents, ensuring we are all equipped to respond in the future in a manner that preserves the safety and well-being of our community. As a public university that upholds the Constitution and values freedom of thought and diverse views, we must find a way to reconcile that freedom with the fear, damage, and unrest that often accompany such expression.

I have therefore asked Dr. Joan Prince, Vice Chancellor of Global Inclusion & Engagement, and Kelly Haag, Chief Student Affairs Officer, to co-lead a series of meetings with a team of students, faculty, staff, and community members, on how we can develop proactive education and outreach efforts to better address critical issues affecting our campus culture and climate. The outcome of these meetings will be an action plan, which may include initiatives such as the formation of a campus climate response team to address hate, a plan to communicate available on- and off-campus resources, and campus educational forums. Given the urgency of this matter, this team has already begin planning, but it will not finalize efforts until we have adequate representation from faculty, staff, students and community members.

Thank you for the heartfelt feedback you have shared.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee