Wednesday evening our students and community gathered on campus to make their voices heard. While there were a few incidents that required police intervention and two arrests, we were impressed with how the majority of those in attendance exercised their rights to share their views.
Freedom of expression, academic freedom, diversity, equity and respect are core values for our university. At times, it can feel like these values are at odds with each other. It is our responsibility as a campus to always work to balance these values, and yesterday demonstrated that we can do so.
We want to reiterate that there is no place on our campus for violence, threats of violence, or intimidation of any kind and those who engage in such behavior will be held accountable. We also affirm our institutional commitment to be an inclusive campus, a place that welcomes, values and respects people from all backgrounds.
Freedom of expression at a university means that we hear, evaluate and respond to multiple viewpoints. Student groups on our campus have a long tradition of making their voices heard and bringing speakers to campus with controversial perspectives. We will continue to respect the right of every registered student organization to host speakers on campus.
At the same time, we will continue to provide training and education for our students, faculty and staff to strengthen our campus-wide efforts to promote student learning through inclusive environments. We also look forward to the many events, lectures, and forums available on campus that will facilitate genuine dialogue.
We want to thank our campus police, under the direction of Chief Dale Brophy, for their professionalism last night. Our public safety officers performed at a very high level, and we received tremendous support from the Salt Lake City Police Department, the Utah Highway Patrol, and many surrounding law enforcement agencies. We are grateful for their help and support.
Thank you for your commitment to this university and for supporting our shared values.
[bs_row class=”row”][bs_col class=”col-sm-6″]David W. Pershing
President, University of Utah
[/bs_col][bs_col class=”col-sm-6″]Ruth V. Watkins
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs[/bs_col][/bs_row]