Dear members of the Virginia Tech community:
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 07 - October 9, 1997
The Virginia Tech campus community is one that includes people from a wide variety of social, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. This diversity is a valuable feature of our life together that we must uphold and protect. I take pride in our diversity, and I am personally committed to creating a campus where all are welcome and made to feel comfortable.
Far too frequently, an individual or small group will use electronic mail, printed media, or graffiti of some form to offend and degrade others on the basis of group identity. While such acts may be protected by the Constitution, let me be clear that I find such behavior in any form to be indefensible and repugnant. I denounce it, and I resent the actions and speech of those whose behavior calls into question the basic good will of our campus community.
Several incidents have happened since the beginning of the school year that have caused a great deal of hurt and anger, and have at the same time cast doubt on the value we as a community place on diversity. These incidents serve to remind us all that creating and maintaining a community in which every person and group is treated with respect requires the constant commitment and the willing and active participation of all our members.
My wish is that all of you will join me in my commitment to creating a community that truly embraces diversity. In this type of community, all members are valued. Differences are acknowledged, understood, appreciated, and celebrated. Our university must function in this way if we are to maintain Virginia Tech's status and regard in the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.
Members of our community are planning a meeting to take place in a few weeks that will present an opportunity for many of us to come together and renew our mutual understanding and our commitment to these essential values. I hope you will watch for more information about this meeting, and I hope many of you will be able to join us.
Paul E. Torgersen, president