I know many of you are aware of media reports detailing cases of injustice and discrimination on college campuses across America. On Nov. 9, University of Missouri President Timothy Wolfe and campus Chancellor R. Bowen Lofton resigned from their positions, moves prompted by widespread student protests following a series of racial confrontations. Over the past several weeks, Yale University has also seen unrest on its campus stemming from racial incidents and conflicts over free speech. Episodes like these are deeply troubling. Racial injustice and other forms of discrimination are antithetical to the values of a free and open university, and to a campus culture that values and respects each member of its community.
In light of these and several other incidents on U.S. college campuses this fall, I write to reiterate The University of Tulsa’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equality, and to the values and ideals that underpin the TU Family – integrity, fairness, open dialogue, and mutual respect.
The University of Tulsa remains committed to an environment of open expression and robust dialogue within the bounds of individual responsibility, civility, and mutual respect. Our administrative team and I maintain a spirit of openness, and we welcome the “great conversation” that characterizes the very best universities. This conversation is especially important as it relates to students’ sense of safety and belonging at The University of Tulsa – a sense that is foundational to the entire TU experience.
This summer, TU established the Office of Diversity and Engagement, which is administered by Jacqueline Caldwell, our founding Vice President for Diversity and Engagement. Jackie has begun working with others throughout the campus to identify needs and opportunities to improve diversity at TU – both in our representation and in our culture.
The TU campus is a place of many ideas and opinions, and this practically guarantees that individuals will be alternately inspired and challenged by things they hear, read, or experience. While recognizing the broad range of individual perspectives and interpretations, it is incumbent on all of us to confront instances of racism and other forms of discrimination and to maintain the esprit and comity that are characteristic of the TU Family.
Thank you for taking time to reflect on this statement and contribute your voice to our shared conversation.
TU President Steadman Upham