Update: Athletic Director M. Dianne Murphy and Coach Pete Mangurian have released their own statement; their letter is after the jump.
Update #2: Aaaand another one, from OMA. Also after the jump.
Deans Valentini, Goldfarb, Awn, and Director of Athletics M. Dianne Murphy have just released a statement to the Columbia community on the recent hate crime. In the letter, the administration condemns “harassment, mistreatment and hateful language based on race, gender, sexual orientation, affiliation or other identities,” and states that students involved will be both investigated by the NYPD and subject to an in-school judicial process. The deans also very vaguely address the “social media messages reportedly posted by some students” (a reference to the generally offensive Twitter accounts of some students that we posted about yesterday) and insist that they “are addressing this matter aggressively with the individuals involved.” Read the full letter below.
As educators and leaders of a diverse learning community, we are deeply concerned when racism, sexism, homophobia and incivility—whether in words, actions or posts of any kind—target individuals or groups. Such behavior violates our Community Principles: http://www.studentaffairs.columbia.edu/comdev/principles.
For all members of Columbia University, harassment, mistreatment and hateful language based on race, gender, sexual orientation, affiliation or other identities are unacceptable and hurt every one of us. We all are committed to a campus environment which values and supports each individual in an atmosphere that is caring and respectful.
When a bias incident is reported, we move quickly to investigate the matter and ensure that all involved students are treated fairly and are supported throughout the process. This has been the main focus immediately following Sunday’s report, and we must honor and protect the wishes of victims. After an investigation by the New York Police Department, and in addition to any pending outside legal process, CC/SEAS students involved are also subject to a judicial process through the Dean’s Discipline process. For a fuller understanding of our Bias Response, please read the brochure: http://www.studentaffairs.columbia.edu/sites/dsa/files/handbooks/BiasProtocolBrochure.pdf.
We ask that you respect the privacy of all individuals involved and allow us to investigate thoroughly and act according to our protocols and procedures. Speculation based on limited or inaccurate information reported in the press, or anonymous rumor, serves no one well and is detrimental to the wellbeing of those involved as well as to our community as a whole. Senior administrators from Student Affairs and from the Athletics Program, with complete support of university leadership, are working together and treating this matter with the seriousness it deserves.
With respect to social media messages reportedly posted by some students, we share fully in the belief that offensive messages in any form are unacceptable and fall far beneath the standards of civility and mutual respect we expect of all our students, including student athletes who represent Columbia. We are addressing this matter aggressively with the individuals involved. We also believe that broad generalizations about any group are unfair and hurtful, and we unfortunately have seen that social media has too often become a forum for such offensive comments. Every one of us is responsible to this community, and we ask that you affirm the values that call for us to treat each other with respect and dignity. Let us commit to using our freedom of expression to promote civil dialogue and to appreciate our greatest strength—our diversity. We understand the deep hurt, disappointment, and anger and are committed to supporting and collaborating with all of our students in addressing these things in our community and how we will move forward together. Now is the time for all of us to reach out to one another with compassion and understanding.
James J. Valentini,
Dean of Columbia College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education
Interim Dean, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
Peter J. Awn,
Dean, School of General Studies
M. Dianne Murphy,
Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education
In addition to joining the statement sent to you earlier by Columbia’s undergraduate deans, we feel that it is important for us to address the campus community directly and independently.
Our athletics program is greatly disappointed by the language and sentiment expressed online by a select few Columbia student-athletes.
These comments are not representative of the more than 700 Columbia undergraduate students who participate in our athletics program, or the coaches, administrators and staff who serve the University and our campus community.
Columbia Athletics is steadfast in its support of, and appreciation for, diversity on campus and in the world around us. Personal expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and any other form of bigotry are abhorrent. This is disheartening and embarrassing for everyone involved. We respect and support the University’s goals and ideals of acceptance and tolerance of all members of the campus community.
We are addressing this inexcusable behavior with the individuals involved. We will also address this with each of our 31 varsity teams. All of our coaches, administrators and staff understand and appreciate how important it is for everyone on campus to communicate and work together in a civil and respectful manner.
We are working closely with our campus partners to make sure that we are diligent and proactive in our response to this matter. The athletics program is committed to providing additional resources to continue to educate our student-athletes about the importance of respect, civility and inclusivity in everything we do. Moving forward, we will continue to reinforce these important values that are so vital to our University community.
On behalf of the members of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education and the Columbia Football program, we offer our sincere apologies to members of the greater Columbia community.
M. Dianne Murphy,
Director, Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education
Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football
Thank you to those who were able to meet with me yesterday. By now, you probably have read the email from our undergraduate deans and director of Columbia Athletics.
We want to affirm that we are here for everyone who has been impacted, particularly those in our campus community who may feel particularly targeted. We acknowledge that moments as this bring to the surface the long and complicated history of how racism has impacted people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, particularly in this country.
We hope that the Office of Multicultural Affairs and all of our Student Affairs colleagues can be a support and resource for you. Please also know our colleagues across the University and your fellow students, including your advising deans and RAs, also are here to offer support and any assistance needed.
Particularly through collaborative programming and work through the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Student Affairs, we hope – in partnerships with students – to continue educating our whole community about and addressing systemic oppression, social responsibility, and accountability to each other.
Office of Multicultural Affairs
Division of Student Affairs