This week’s communication was initially intended to address the recent sexual assaults on campus. I wanted to write about how our community takes these grave assaults seriously, and how students, faculty and staff are collaborating on outreach and messaging to unite our community. My primary message was going to be that our best weapon against sexual assaults is to change our culture into a culture of mutual respect, where we watch out for, help and protect each other. In such a culture, we understand consent, and we are active and engaged bystanders who intervene to keep each other safe, when needed. In the coming months, you will hear more about these messages, but because of recent national events and charged rhetoric around the country, my message of respect includes additional elements as you’ll see below.
The recent events and the rhetoric that have been so prominent in the national media affect all of us. A university is a special place, where knowledge is created, shared, and debated. Such a learning environment requires that members respect each other and that we demonstrate that respect through a free and civil exchange of ideas. Further, it is absolutely critical that our discourse be inclusive and respectful of perspectives that differ from our own. Our learning environment is compromised when we lack the ability to learn from each other and when any segment of our population is treated as less worthy than another. As a land-grant and Hispanic-Serving Institution, NMSU’s mission has the additional element of distinction in that we educate those who are underrepresented and who may feel particularly vulnerable in the current climate.
In recent months, we witnessed a public dialogue with escalated dissent in the absence of mutual respect, all too often with tragic consequences. As a community, we reveal ourselves by our response. I ask all Aggies to join the Chancellor and me in condemning violence, offering condolences to the communities affected by the recent tragedies in Pittsburgh and Louisville, and uniting around principles of inclusion, civility, and respect.
The Aggie Wellness Center offers services to students and staff interested in counseling or referrals. You can contact them (575) 646-1512.
As always, I invite you to send responses or feedback to President.Floros@nmsu.edu.