Our values: a welcome back message to the Twin Cities campus community

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

Happy New Year and welcome back to campus!

First, I want to thank all of you. To our students, who challenge, educate and remind us that we must care for each other in all that we do - you inspire us. To our faculty, for the knowledge, mentorship, and passion you share with our students and contribute to the state of Minnesota. And to our staff, who ensure our campus is productive and safe, and a great place to live, work, and visit. You are an important part of what makes us special. 

As 2017 begins, it is my hope that as a community, we will rededicate ourselves to our University's core values. Those values include our commitment to a safe, respectful, and welcoming campus for all, openness to a diversity of ideas and discussion, a curiosity toward understanding our many differences, and a rejection of hurtful and hateful words. We must remain a place where opposing viewpoints can be aired freely and debated vigorously.

As many of you know, during the winter break much happened in athletics, including the hiring of a new head coach for our football program. I believe our Gopher athletics is on a positive trajectory and will achieve even greater success in the classroom, in competition and in our community.

Our University has long been a leader in sexual assault prevention and support for survivors. Our Aurora Center recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and its educational programming is looked to nationally as a model. Yet we can and must continue to improve. I have asked University leaders from across campus to assess our recent experiences and identify concrete actions we can take. We will engage student leaders in this important work. We have an opportunity to make meaningful changes that will help ensure our students are safe.

The University is a unifying force for our state and for those of us who work, live, and study here. As another semester begins, may we be united by our core values and in our pride for our extraordinary University of Minnesota.