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Due to, I gather, the evident inadequacy of everything President Bollinger has done in the last week, Vice President Dirks and Deans Quigley and Navratil have come together the craft this master statement, perhaps the fifteenth that we've read in the last three days but perhaps also the best so far. With this said, please, no more statements. Do something.

Dear Student,

We are all appalled to confront again in our community a number of acts of bias, prejudice, and intolerance. It is, perhaps, tempting for those not targeted in these incidents to downplay or dismiss them as the actions and attitudes of only a few, unrepresentative individuals. At times like this it is essential for everyone to try to understand the seriousness of these incidents and how they are experienced by members of targeted groups. Repeated administrative statements deploring these incidents are an essential part of Columbia’s response to their occurrence. But we must seek not only to prevent these incidents from recurring, but also to understand the vulnerability and isolation felt by those at risk, taking collective responsibility for each other’s security, well-being, and full membership in our University community.

Columbia strives continually for an academic community of inclusiveness and excellence in every imaginable way. It is what brings so many of us to Columbia. It is a privilege we all share to belong to a community in which a vital part of our excellence derives from our inclusiveness. It is thus everyone’s responsibility to sustain and nurture our diverse community, to understand what it means to say that an attack on any one of our communities is an attack on all of us, and to do whatever we can to demonstrate that sense of acceptance, empathy, and respect for others that enables our diverse community to thrive. We are all the poorer when divisive and threatening acts take place, and we all must do our utmost to strengthen the whole community fabric that can, when we all pitch in together, enable us to be Columbians at our very best.

This email comes with an understanding that many of you will rightly feel we are preaching to the already converted, but it is partly directed to those who may not have yet grasped the full extent of our community responsibilities, and particularly to those individuals whose involvement in recent abhorrent incidents indicate that they just don’t get it at all.

"Not on our campus" our student activists have been chanting this week. They speak loudly and emphatically for us all.

To those of our students who need special support at this time, the staff of the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of Multicultural Affairs are there to serve you individually and to link you to other campus resources as needed. Their work will be even more successful if we all find ways of building our entire community upon mutual respect, solidarity and support.

Thank you for doing all you can to make our community one of which we can all be proud.

Nicholas Dirks
Vice President for Arts and Sciences

Austin Quigley
Dean of Columbia College

Gerald Navratil
Dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science



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