Editor’s note: This message was sent to the Colorado State University campus community on Aug. 31, 2017.
As we head into a long weekend, it’s important that we take time to acknowledge that our campus community – and our country – are dealing with some significant challenges that may impact each of us in different ways. One of the strengths of our community is how we respond and support one another in times of stress and distress, and it is at these times that we all need to take time to listen, to offer a hand, and to call upon the resources available to us through the University. So my reason for writing today is to ask all of us, together, to stand up and to take care of one another.
Here on our own campus, we began the first week of classes with a disturbing incident in one of our residence halls – where students found a noose fashioned out of crepe paper hanging in a stairwell. Vice President for Student Affairs Blanche Hughes, Residence Director Roberts, and I met with students in that hall, and our Housing team has done an excellent job of being present and communicating consistently with all students in the residence halls about the resources available to them and the principles of our community. I want to personally thank all of those staff members and students who have been part of this response.
But this sort of after-the-fact response, while important, doesn’t change the reality that the impact on students, particularly students of color, was serious. A noose, no matter what it’s made from, is always a symbol of violence and terror. Period. And as I said plainly in my first message to campus, our Colorado State community stands firmly against anyone who seeks to intimidate, incite violence and deprive others of their Constitutional rights. We hold up our Principles of Community in counter to anyone who seeks to divide and terrorize. And while we cannot shield anyone from words or ideas that may be damaging and destructive, we will stand with those targeted so that no one on this campus will stand alone. And we will respond with utmost seriousness when there are threats to the safety of anyone on our campus. To that point, the CSUPD launched an investigation into this incident but at this point doesn’t have enough evidence or information to go forward. If you are able to assist, I am asking you to do so; if you have information, please call CSUPD at 970-491-6425. And even if you don’t, I ask that you take time to reflect on this matter and what we, as a University, can do to care for each other in this community that we all share. I welcome your thoughts on this, and I will listen.
Other members of our community are also struggling this week because of the devastating floods caused by Hurricane Harvey. Our nation will be feeling the impacts of this disaster for years to come, but no one more so than those who live or have family and friends in the affected region. It can be particularly difficult to watch the turmoil if you’re away from home and trying to focus on school. If you are a student who is personally impacted by the flooding, please reach out to our Student Affairs staff at 491-5312 so that we can support you to the extent possible.
I also want to remind the campus about our resources to assist all of us in times of stress:
- Tell Someone: If you are concerned about a student or employee, you may reach out via the website
- Students may reach out to: CSU Health Network Counseling Center (970) 491-6053; Dean of Students office (970) 491-5312, or Student Case Management (provides support to students in crisis) (970) 491-8051
- Employees can seek support through the Employee Assistance Program or phone: (800) 497-9133
I also recognize that many of us are looking for ways to offer support. At the Rocky Mountain Showdown on Friday, we will be joining with the University of Colorado to encourage fans to donate to redcross.org or text Harvey to 90999 and be billed $10 on their phone bill as a donation to the Red Cross.
Many other organizations are also engaged in the rescue and recovery effort. Here are few that we know are accepting donations to support recovery efforts:
- Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: A fund set up by the City of Houston to directly support the local communities
- Galveston County Food Bank, Houston Food Bank, and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi all are asking for donations.
- Houston SPCA: Supports Houston animal rescue efforts, large and small animal
- Austin Pets Alive: Coordinating many of the animal evacuations to other areas around the state and country.
- Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, TX, 78238.
- The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair. Visit their website to donate or text UWFLOOD to 41444.
Finally, amid all of this sad news, I want to offer one last thought. Last Saturday, when we opened our new stadium, we also celebrated Military Appreciation Day to honor our colleagues in uniform and all they do for our campus and our country. This weekend, which begins with the Rocky Mountain Showdown, we are really honoring Labor Day – a holiday that honors those who fought and died to protect the rights and well-being of America’s working people. When people talk about CSU as an “institution,” they aren’t referring to the buildings and the roads – they are referring to the people who show up every day to educate and care for our students, to conduct important research, to make often difficult decisions, and to keep the lights on and the snow cleared. CSU is a reflection of each of us as individuals, and all of us together. And I, as an individual, am proud to stand with all of you. Enjoy the long weekend, take care of yourselves and each other, and be well.
Dr. Tony Frank