A&M's president reiterates core values amid equality concerns

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young reiterated the university's stance on tolerance in a letter Wednesday evening. 

In the letter, which was sent to students, faculty and staff, Young reminded Aggies to always display the university's core values-- respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity, service-- in all that they do. The letter indicated that the university has received reports of inappropriate language and signage on campus, that could be offensive to some students. 

Young expressed that students and people employed at the university are "legitimately" there, and that the university will do everything in its power to ensure they stay there. 

FULL STATEMENT: 

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Some of you have expressed concern about protection of students regardless of race, religious preferences, sexual orientation, and/or immigration status in light of the recent election. We want to take the opportunity to reiterate that one of our mandates has been and continues to be just that – to facilitate a supportive, secure learning environment where a diverse student body, faculty and staff can work optimally towards their pursuit of world class education and research in preparing students for their future.

There will continue to be differences in ideology and perspectives in keeping with the freedom we are afforded in our country. At the same time, it is up to every student, faculty and staff member (including you who are reading this now) to personally display our core values – respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity, service - in all that we do. This cannot be driven from the top down which would be impossible to oversee at every instance; It is to be adopted by all who join this community to treat others with respect, to refrain from disparaging remarks, to enter into productive dialogs as is the case with those faculty and students who have reached out to us in respectful ways about this very issue.

We have reports of inappropriate, disparaging comments from students to others who pass by; of offensive signage; of individuals and groups from all sides of an issue aggressive in their actions, including interrupting the daily business of the university and the learning environment as a whole. I encourage you to revisit the Expressive Activities regulations.

Regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation or immigration status – Those who are here as enrolled students, faculty and staff are legitimately here. We will do everything within our power to ensure that these and all of our students, faculty and staff, remain full members of our academic community. Aggies take care of Aggies. To that end, we have received specific suggestions by a group of faculty and students that the Provost office is reviewing with follow-up communications in December. We encourage input to faculty, deans, staff leaders, and my office as well to raisingthebar@tamu.edu.

We are happy to report that respect, even in instances of disagreement, still outweighs adversity on our campus. And yet any inappropriate action is one too many. Addressing the gaps to excellence will continue to be part of our remit to allow our mission of education, research and preparation of students for the world. Please be kind to each other – that is the Aggie way.

President Michael K. Young and Provost Karan Watson

(© 2016 KAGS)


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