Dean’s Invitation to Discuss Hate Speech Incidents

Every week this semester, I have read media accounts of racist behavior on university campuses across the country. I often wonder what it will take to build a truly inclusive community where these incidents are eliminated and all of us commit to achieve that vision. We all know that Mizzou has work to do.

This evening, as the media attention about the events of September 27 reached College of Education alumni, they reached out to me with authentic concern for the students who were not only targeted, but also other students who were undoubtedly impacted by these events. I received similar emails and texts from Mizzou Ed faculty, staff, and administrators. The incredible network of caring people is one of the many reasons that I’m proud to be associated with the College of Education.

To the students targeted with hate speech on our campus, I am truly sorry. I cannot begin to comprehend the use of intentionally hateful words. Excuses such as alcohol or jokes are not acceptable. Thank you to those who are brave and report incidents when they do occur and to others who listen and support their peers as they process these types of incidents. As I interacted with a few who were angry and hurt tonight, I was again reminded of the critical role that listening can play.

The Bridge is one of the venues we have to discuss and support one another. I certainly don’t have the answers; however, I can offer to listen (or just sit with) if you want to join me in The Bridge (220 Townsend Hall) on September 29 from 12:30-1:30 PM.

Most importantly, please take care of yourselves and seek outside help if you feel overwhelmed. I’m certainly not a professional so if you need someone to talk to, you can call the MU Counseling Center at 573-882-6601 or Behavioral Health at 573-882-1483.

Every employee in the College of Education is committed to our students. In addition, we have passionate alumni who want to support our efforts. I will be meeting with our alumni board on Saturday. They have requested that I address the following: How are you ensuring the safety and security of our students? I take this responsibility very seriously and welcome your continued suggestions for enhancing our community as well as eliminating marginalization and hate on our campus.

Kathryn Chval, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Education