Chalked messages on campus
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:
As you may know, there were some chalked messages on campus that have caused concern and distress for many of our students, as well as our faculty and staff. There continues to be discussion about them on social media.
You may recall a similar situation took place last April. At that time, a message to campus was released which stated, in part:
At Appalachian, we staunchly support free speech and academic freedom. We encourage our community to debate vigorously, challenge and defend ideas, and advocate for your positions. At the same time, we must hold one another accountable to do so in a manner that does not demean, vilify or attack the humanity of [other] community members. In a democratic society, we often experience a clash of ideas, but no one is “less than” anyone else. To attempt winning an argument by endeavoring to marginalize others kills intelligent discourse and is an affront to true democracy.
I encourage each member of our community to hold fast to their ideals and beliefs, and in doing so, respect the humanity and individual value of others. As we move forward together, let us accept the challenge to embrace our best selves.
I ask that you keep these words, which remain very relevant, top of mind.
Face-to-face discussions are often much more meaningful than those that take place via less personal channels, like social media and posted messages. Our campus has been working to facilitate constructive conversations around diversity and inclusion. We are participating in an internationally renowned Sustained Dialogue initiative, in order to engage members of the Appalachian Community in dialogues that cultivate strong, trusting relationships, foster respect for each individual and cultivate everyone’s ability to contribute to positive change.
Sheri N. Everts