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Utah State University Diversity Council

Diversity Council Statement Regarding Recent Campus Threat

Late in the evening of Monday, October 13, many Utah State University departments and officials received an email threatening our community for welcoming Anita Sarkeesian to our campus. The email used threats of violence against Ms. Sarkeesian and all who might attend her talk in order to strong-arm Utah State University into canceling her appearance. While Utah State University was willing to proceed with Ms. Sarkeesian’s talk as scheduled, the state’s policy on firearms forced her to cancel the event out of concern for her own safety and the safety of those who would have attended.

The Utah State University Diversity Council strongly condemns the actions of this anonymous perpetrator, and of all threats of violence aimed at stopping the spread of education and information. The use or threat of violence to silence the voices of any population, particularly those who have been historically marginalized, is unacceptable.

The Diversity Council supports those who participated in the peaceful demonstration on Wednesday, promoting the values of education, freedom of speech, and safe spaces for the sharing of ideas. If you are interested in becoming more involved with the feminist movement on USU’s campus, consider joining Perspectives, an organization on USU’s campus that promotes discussions on gender equality, diversity, and women’s issues. The Center for Women & Gender also routinely hosts events and gatherings aimed at the promotion of sex and gender equality – check their calendar for upcoming events.

If you are ever in a situation where a student’s behavior is causing others to feel threatened, or you are concerned for any student’s safety, please make a report to the Behavioral Intervention Team using the Student of Concern Reporting Tool.

The Utah State University Diversity Council is committed to supporting a safe and inclusive campus for all members of the Utah State University community. We are disappointed with the events that have transpired in the last week, and hope that this is the last time threats of violence are used to suppress the voice of feminists or any other group working for equality on our campus and in our community.

Sincerely,

Members of the Utah State University Diversity Council

Nicole Vouvalis, J.D.
Chair, Utah State University Diversity Council

Michelle Bogdan-Holt
Director, Access & Diversity Center

Jana Doggett
Executive Associate Athletics Director

Britt Fagerheim
Chair, Faculty Diversity, Development, & Equity Committee

BrandE Faupell
Director, Human Resources

Dr. Renee Galliher
Professor, Psychology

Dr. Douglas Jackson-Smith
President, Faculty Senate & Professor, Sociology

Dr. Richard Mueller
Associate Dean, College of Science


Diversity Council Grant Awards

The Diversity Council would like to congratulate the following individuals and departments on their grant awards for the 2014 – 2015 year! The Diversity Council received many outstanding applications this year, and we are grateful to be supporting these projects.

grants

The Center for Persons with Disabilities for its project Aggies Elevated. Aggies Elevated provides an inclusive, post-secondary education experience for young adults with intellectual disabilities. Aggies Elevated will provide an opportunity for students to live on campus, with full access to all student activities, while taking specialized and traditional coursework at Utah State University.

The Department of Biological Engineering for its proposal to host Hispanic/Latin@ identifying students during a summer undergraduate research program in Biological Engineering at Utah State University.

Counseling & Psychological Services office will host visual displays each month to celebrate cultural heritage months, to recognize diversity in religious holidays, and to promote a general appreciation of multiculturalism. This change to the visual atmosphere makes the CAPS space more inviting and inclusive for all students utilizing their services.

Caine College of the Arts for its proposal to engage in targeted recruitment efforts to bring underrepresented students to Utah State University from New Orleans and Los Angeles.

Bonnie Glass-Coffin & the Anthropology Department for their project Interreligious Knowledge, Relationship-Building, and Action at Utah State University. This project seeks to build religious literacy at Utah State University regarding different faiths or no faith at all.

The Office of the Vice President for Student Services for its Underrepresented Student Mentorship Program. This program will target students who traditionally would be provisional admits, and pair them with successful upperclassmen for a yearlong peer-to-peer mentorship program. This program is expected to increase the academic and social success of students who are statistically unlikely to complete a four-year degree.

These projects, alongside other ongoing projects with Diversity Council support, all work toward supporting the goals and objectives of the Diversity Council. The Council is proud to be supporting these projects, and looks forward to many more years of successful projects and awards!