Dear Campus Community:
The deeply disturbing incident in Charlottesville, perpetrated by the KKK, white supremacists and neo-Nazis, is the latest in a string of national events rooted in racial tension, overt racism, hate and bigotry. Tragic events like these challenge not only our nation, but our City and campus. Over the past three years, our campus has engaged in vigorous debate and discussion about these issues, and done so in a manner consistent with our commitment to a foundational value of equality and campus community strengthened and enriched by our diversity.
We will continue our Critical Conversations series in the fall semester, addressing this continuing and disturbing trend of national events. Last year, I met with several student groups/organizations to discuss a wide range of topics and will continue to do so this year. If you have suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me or Provost Weddle-West directly. As a University deeply committed to the development and personal growth of all of our students, please know that there is a broad range of support resources available, starting with our faculty and staff. Do not hesitate to reach out to any of us, including your Dean of Students, Dr. Justin Lawhead, who is easily accessible in the University Center.
Our campus and broader City are defined by our diversity and strengthened by its rich tapestry. As we again grieve for this tragic loss of life and a country struggling with racial tension, please know you are part of a campus community that values and is deeply committed to diversity, along with your individual growth and personal development. Just a few days ago, our Student Government Association leaders joined other student leaders from across the country and signed a letter supporting the University of Virginia and condemning the racist and bigoted behavior. I have never been more proud than to witness our students' response to national events over the past three years. There will always be hate, insecurity and fear in this world. Hope, in the face of adversity, is never easy, but something our campus has evidenced repeatedly in the most difficult of circumstances. I am grateful to be part of the University of Memphis and this community. I look forward to hearing from you.
M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor