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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hate symbols and racial discrimination contrary to UF values, president writes after on-campus incidents

UF President W. Kent Fuchs

AP

UF President W. Kent Fuchs

22

November

In a letter to University of Florida students, faculty and staff, UF president W. Kent Fuchs disavowed incidents of racist vandalism on campus as antithetical to university values.

Like many other schools, UF has dealt with post-election turmoil on campus.

Pro-white fliers appeared on campus with a link to an anti-Semitic blog. “F--- Black People” was written on a residence hall bulletin board. It has since been painted over, the lndependent Florida Alligator reported.

This weekend, as students marched to protest President-elect Donald Trump, a sophomore Trump supporter said he was tackled. Meanwhile, as marchers passed the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house, some members waved a Trump flag and shouted to protesters.

Overnight Saturday, columns of the fraternity house were spray-painted to read “We (heart) Trump,” “We (heart) (swastika)” and “We (heart) rape,” according to the Alligator. A window was broken, too.

Sunday night, Fuchs tweeted, “I denounce all statements and symbols that hurt or disparage.”

On Tuesday, he sent an email to the UF community.

“The emotions running through our community are as varied as the people who make up the university,” he wrote. “I encourage you to participate in open, respectful dialogue and to listen to others, even when it is difficult.”

Here it is in full.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

In the past week, we’ve seen incidents of racist vandalism on and around our campus. I want to be clear that there is no place for racial discrimination at the University of Florida. I also want to be clear that I view statements and symbols of hate as being contrary to the mutual respect and understanding which we value and cherish on our campus and which are so vital to the University’s educational goals.  

The University of Florida is a community of learners, educators and scholars. We encourage open and honest dialogue. We strive to understand one another and embrace our rich diversity.

As I wrote in my op-ed in the Independent Florida Alligator last week, my prayer is that I and every UF student, faculty and staff member will practice humanity and kindness. In these times of such hostility, we have the opportunity to be leaders in demonstrating good will and empathy for others.

The emotions running through our community are as varied as the people who make up the university. I encourage you to participate in open, respectful dialogue and to listen to others, even when it is difficult.

If you are the victim of a crime, please report it to the police. If you are the victim of discriminatory behavior, please report it to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. As always, if you are aware of students in distress for any reason, please refer them to U Matter, We Care at umatter@ufl.edu

With warmth and best wishes for the Thanksgiving break,

W. Kent Fuchs

President, University of Florida

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 3:51pm]

    

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