President Arthur: Standing together against violence

To the University community:

As you may have seen in the press, two Muslim men were shot early last Wednesday near the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus. One of the men is a Metropolitan State student.

Both were later treated and released from the University of Minnesota Medical Center. We are deeply grateful that there was no loss of life. However, the information initially available indicates that the unprovoked attack, which could have ended tragically, was not random, but was preceded by xenophobic hate speech.

University representatives are reaching out to our student to provide appropriate support in this frightening time for him and his community.

This latest local example of intolerance illustrates again the often short distance between violent words and violent actions. It also underscores why Metropolitan State takes so seriously our statement of university values, which affirms the vital importance of diversity, inclusion, and an open, respectful climate.

While we support free and open speech, we categorically denounce speech that furthers hatred and division. As reflected in our body of university policies, we do not tolerate workplace violence, verbal or physical. Moreover, we condemn acts of violence anywhere in our community. We stand in solidarity with our students and their communities against such words and acts.

Let us take this occasion, when both the holy month of Ramadan and our country’s annual celebration of liberty on July 4th have just been observed, to renew our collective commitment to inclusion, to diversity, to respect, and to standing as allies with those who are attacked or marginalized unjustly. Let us seek to offer to our society a better example of a vibrant intellectual and civic life in an urban setting. We want our students to know that the act of one does not alter the larger community’s goodwill. It is our continued intent to be, as an institution of higher education, an example of the civility, tolerance, and mutual support that can animate an informed, reflective society.

Thank you.

Virginia Arthur
President