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Update from Dr. Hawkinson on KU Bias Response Task Force Meeting

Oct. 27, 2017

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff: 

The KU Bias Response Task Force met this morning to strategize about the recent demonstration by an outside group called SinAwarenessDay.  

As a state institution, our campus has been the scene of many similar demonstrations in the past, and is certain to be the site of more demonstrations in the future.  While these demonstrations often express views not consistent with the majority of the campus community and can often be trying for many individuals, our University must support the First Amendment rights of all parties by offering a controlled venue for free speech.   

With that in mind, it is important to remember that our reactions will determine whether these types of demonstrations end peacefully.  The most appropriate method for disagreement under these circumstances is non-confrontation.   

To assist with these challenges in the future, leaders of our task force are working together to create a new initiative called "Walk On By."  This effort is intended to educate our students on how to deal with outside demonstrators, and to coordinate student-leaders and select faculty and staff in having a visible presence when such visits occur.  In addition, we have invited members of the State System legal team to visit campus in the near future to hold an open forum on the First Amendment and free speech.  We will share details as soon as they become available.  

It is also important that we provide the appropriate resources for students negatively affected by demonstrations.  Please know that support services are available through the following offices:

University Counseling Center: (610) 683-4072
Dean of Students Office: (610) 683-1396
Faith-based Organizations (via Dean of Students Office): (610) 683-1396
GLBTQ Resource Center: (484) 646-4111
Office of Multicultural Services: (610) 683-4197
KU Police: (610) 683-4002
Office of Social Equity: (610) 683-4700
Women's Center: (610) 683-4655

The following links are also good resources to review.  One is for our evolving task force Website, and the other is on the First Amendment:

KU Bias Response Task Force: https://www.kutztown.edu/about-ku/administrative-offices/dean-of-students/bias-response-task-force.htm

First Amendment: https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendments/

Thank you all for your cooperation and patience during trying circumstances and we look forward to working with you in keeping our campus a safe and productive environment for all.     

Sincerely,  

Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson
President