Nov. 13, 2015
To the University of Nebraska Community:
Seven months ago today, I was humbled and honored to join the University of Nebraska as president.
I wasn’t born here. But it didn’t take long for Nebraska to feel like home. That’s because all of you – and people across this state – have welcomed me, my wife and our children as though we were family.
And truly, that’s what we are. There are upwards of 65,000 of us – students, faculty and staff from all walks of life, each of us with a different story. But we have the University of Nebraska in common. That means we’re family. It means we have a responsibility to take care of each other. It means that when one of us is mistreated, we all suffer.
Events like those that have occurred recently at other higher education institutions around the country are an important reminder that even within a family, bad things can happen. I have seen news media accounts of the experiences of members of the University of Nebraska community. I am disheartened at the thought that some of our own have been treated this way.
“Our campuses must be diverse, inclusive places where all students and employees feel valued and respected, and where their concerns are not just heard but addressed.”
These accounts – however rare – aren’t who we are. They aren’t what we represent. They have no place at the University of Nebraska.
Our campuses must be diverse, inclusive places where all students and employees feel valued and respected, and where their concerns are not just heard but addressed. As family, we should expect no less. We are taking steps in the right direction, although we can always do more.
I hope each of us will spend time asking ourselves what more we can do to make sure basic values like dignity and respect are reflected across the university. Sometimes, that might mean having difficult conversations. For family, it’s worth it.
I am listening to you, and I look forward to working together to build a University of Nebraska that all of us can be even more proud of.
President, University of Nebraska