Dear Mizzou family:
I am sorry that I cannot be on campus today when our students are dealing with yet another incident of racism and are angry and scared. I am currently out of the country at a meeting with the University of Ghent and the University of the Western Cape. I recorded this message on my mobile device because I want you to hear from me personally and know that I share your outrage.
Early this morning, I was furious and disappointed to learn about another person who has harassed Mizzou students and used racist and hateful speech. The latest incident occurred when an intoxicated person reportedly interrupted some of our students who were rehearsing for a Homecoming event and was asked to leave the area. His response included racist accusations and use of the N-word.
Racism exists at MU. I want to make it clear that we do not tolerate racism and prejudice on our campus. We will identify this individual from last night, and this person will be disciplined according to our campus conduct policies.
I am sorry that racism continues to hurt our students, faculty and staff. We are challenged by the fact that it is difficult to change people’s hearts and attitudes, but we are not deterred. We will continue to work so that everyone, regardless of background, feels welcome and included at Mizzou — because everyone is.
All on this campus are hurt by racism, and all students deserve the opportunity to learn in an environment that supports them, respects them, and doesn’t discriminate against them because of race, nationality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or any other difference.
Our police and Student Conduct investigators have been aggressive in identifying responsible individuals and disciplining them quickly. In the recent past, students have been suspended and expelled for engaging in race discrimination including offensive remarks and vandalizing university property with racist messages.
What we have been doing on campus to address racism has not been enough. I have personally talked with affected students and will meet with them when I return. We are working on several actions that I hope will make our campus better. Those include:
- Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity: Provost Stokes is leading a national search for this new position. We are searching for the best person who can understand the challenges we face and help us move toward a better future.
- Diversity training for job searches: Every person who is responsible for hiring faculty on this campus will be required to complete training to ensure that we are fully considering diversity when we recruit for positions on campus. We know that we have a disproportionately low number of faculty and staff from under-represented groups. We want to change that.
- Campus Climate Survey: We will ask everyone to participate in a campus climate survey related to race issues on campus.
Additionally, I am asking all deans, chairs, and academic and non-academic directors to discuss with their colleagues and staff the continuing issue of racism at MU and to develop ideas and action plans for creating a more inclusive environment in their respective areas. The Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative can provide facilitators and resources to assist campus leaders with this dialogue.
Reports of racism — including race-related harassment and other threatening and intimidating behaviors — are handled collaboratively through the Office of Student Conduct, the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, the Title IX Office, Human Resources and the Provost’s office to ensure that all reports are addressed. Students who violate Mizzou’s code of conduct are subject to sanctions up to and including expulsion.
Anyone who experiences racial discrimination may file an online report at:
- Bias Incident Report Form: https://equity.missouri.edu/bias-reporting/
- Student Conduct Incident Report Form: http://conduct.missouri.edu/incident-report-form/
You also may contact:
- Assistant Vice Provost Ellen Eardley – 573-882-3880
- Chief Diversity Officer Noor Azizan-Gardner – 573-882-6282
- Senior Coordinator of Student Conduct Julie Drury – 573-882-5543
- Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Jatha Sadowski – 573-882-4859
- Senior Associate Provost Ken Dean – 573-882-6597
Criminal behavior should be reported to MUPD at 573-882-7202.
Please join me in fighting hatred and racism at Mizzou. Together, we will make our campus a place that is welcoming to everyone.
R. Bowen Loftin
University of Missouri