LETTER TO THE EDITOR: BSU peaceful demonstration leads to racist remarks via social media

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Dear Colleagues and Students:

As members of the K-State Community and College of Business Administration, we were deeply saddened to learn of the racist remarks made anonymously via social media in response to a peaceful demonstration held by the Black Student Union on Dec. 3, 2014. We wish to express our support of the BSU, as well as all of our minority and international students. As the administration reminded us in their own thoughtful response, our K-State family is built upon several key Principles of Community, which includes a mutual responsibility to maintain:

· “. . . the inherent dignity and value of every person . . . (to) maintain an atmosphere of justice based on respect for each other.”

· “. . . the right of each person to freely express thoughts and opinions in a spirit of civility and decency.”

· “. . . open expression within a climate of courtesy, sensitivity, and mutual respect.”

The anonymous comments made on Yik Yak were in direct violation of these principles and the spirit of the K-State Principles of Community, and the students, faculty and staff who participated in that peaceful demonstration understandably felt hurt and betrayed. “Speech” that is disrespectful at best, and hateful at worst, has no place on this campus and will not be tolerated within or outside of the classroom.

At the same time, we recognize that people can and will disagree on a wide variety of important issues. However, that diversity of opinions must be communicated in a way that connotes respect for all of our fellow Wildcats. We can only move forward, together, if we create an environment where everyone feels safe to engage in open and honest dialogue and if we commit to truly listening to perspectives that differ from our own. To achieve this goal, we must show each other the respect of engaging in personal conversations and stop hiding behind the screen of anonymous social media.

Our hope is to support a tone that condemns hate while promoting paths to future dialogue on all issues in a positive, respectful and productive way.

Sincerely,

Melanie Horton

Assistant to the dean, College of Business Administration

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