A message from President Johnson
To the University Community,
Recently, the Church Fine Arts "graffiti stairwell" was tagged with swastikas and threatening language. The stairwell is a space intended as a celebration of artistic expression.
University Police has asked that anyone with information related to this incident please contact them at (775) 334-2677.
In response to the tagging, Dean Debra Moddelmog and her colleagues in the College of Liberal Arts are inviting graffiti artists, students and faculty to join them this Sunday (10/15) at 2 p.m. to repaint and restore the graffiti stairwell to its function as an artistic creative outlet for art over violence.
Dean Moddelmog stated that, "Taking back the stairwell demonstrates our commitment to love over hate, peace over violence, and community over intimidation."
University President Marc Johnson
To the campus community:
The University, our community and the entire state are in mourning today for our friends and family in Las Vegas in the aftermath of the tragic shooting. Our campus has numerous connections with Las Vegas, from students who proudly call Las Vegas their home to colleagues, friends and alumni who live and work there. Our campus is deeply saddened by what has happened. Our condolences and prayers go out to all of the victims, their families and their friends.
We ask the campus community to reach out for services that are available to help, to counsel and answer questions. These services include the Counseling Center (www.unr.edu/counseling or 784-4648) and the Associate Vice President for Student Life (784-1471) can assist with class absences, academic, financial and personal support.
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at the Gateway Plaza in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union. The campus community, as well as the community at large is invited to participate.
Please continue to keep those affected, both directly and indirectly, in your thoughts.
University President Marc Johnson
Two University Police officers conducted a traffic stop early Sunday morning in which inappropriate and offensive comments were made to a University graduate student by the officers. The comments were captured on a body camera.
I have seen the video and I find the language that was used to be disturbing, offensive and unacceptable. I condemn this reprehensible language, and again, offer my sincerest apologies to the graduate student for what occurred.
I am deeply concerned about the distress that was placed on the graduate student. I commend the student's courage in reporting this incident, it was a brave thing to do. I've spoken personally to the graduate student, as has University President Marc Johnson. Both President Johnson and I have personally apologized to the graduate student for the comments that were made.
University Police and the University's Title IX Office are investigating, following our personnel policies and procedures, and we are moving quickly to determine our most appropriate action. One of the officer's has been placed on administrative leave and is not on campus.
The words that were used during the traffic stop are deplorable and have no place in the important interaction that must occur between members of our community and our Police Department. At a time of heightened fear and anxiety throughout the country and on campus, the impact of the statements was further compounded.
Since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was started in 2012, we have witnessed the critical benefits of this program for our students, and the highly positive impacts on our institution and community. We are proud of all of our DACA students. We want to protect the opportunity for anyone who comes to our University to pursue their dreams through education. We will continue to embrace our mission and support the members of our diverse groups, who are a valued and critical part of our campus community. With reports indicating that DACA may be rescinded, we are affirming our stance that all students who are ready to pursue a higher education are welcome here at the University of Nevada, Reno.
We will continue to advocate for DACA's continuation with our representatives in Washington, D.C. Earlier this week a number of our student-centered programs and divisions met to discuss what we can do now given this latest threat to DACA. The past several days have been very stressful for our DACA students and their families, as they have been dealing with a high level of uncertainty. The University of Nevada, Reno values our DACA students, and we are here to advocate for them and stand with them.
Equal opportunity, inclusiveness and diversity are core values for the University of Nevada, Reno. We must always encourage a campus environment that supports and respects all members of our diverse learning community. This defining principle includes standing against all forms of bigotry, hatred and racism, as well as providing learning environments that are peaceful and encourage the free exchange of ideas. We also stand for the basic principles of the Constitution, which says we have freedoms to peacefully assemble and to have free speech.
Over the weekend, tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, have brought about several questions regarding these defining principles. The University unequivocally rejects the positions and ideology that were espoused during the white supremacist rally that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia.
There have been numerous inquiries about Peter Cvjetanovic, a student at our University who participated in the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Based on discussion and investigation with law enforcement, our attorneys and our Office of Student Conduct, there is no constitutional or legal reason to expel him from our University or to terminate his employment.
We realize there are concerns regarding the safety of our campus, particularly for students, faculty and staff. Our Police Department has been coordinating resources and information with all local law enforcement agencies to ensure that we have a safe campus. We have a strong law enforcement community in northern Nevada as well as federal law enforcement representatives who are working closely with members of University Police Services to ensure that our campus remains a safe and welcoming place.
We are also providing resources for faculty and students in how best to discuss and interpret information related to the events in Charlottesville, and, in a larger context, how important subjects such as race relations figure into a positive learning atmosphere in our classrooms and in our curriculum. Our Diversity Initiatives Office is currently working with administration, academic leadership and Student Services in developing a landing point of information and upcoming training sessions so that our faculty has all of the tools necessary to conduct civil and positive discussion regarding these important issues.
With students soon to move back onto campus, we are stressing that we must be vigilant regarding what we see and hear. We cannot ignore insensitive comments, hateful language or actions that threaten the safety of members of our community. Please report any of this type of behavior immediately to our Title IX office, 775-784-1547, or Police Department, 775-784-4013.
The First Amendment freedom of free speech requires us all to understand that sometimes support of this freedom can be uncomfortable. It is one of the most difficult freedoms we live with. It requires us to support the right of people to express views which we sometimes vehemently disagree.
Marc A. Johnson
We have been witness to the violence that has taken place this weekend during the white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia. One of the marchers photographed has been identified as a University of Nevada, Reno student.
Racism and white supremacist movements have a corrosive effect on our society. These movements do not represent our values as a university. We denounce any movement that targets individuals due to the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, political beliefs, sexual orientation, ability/disability, or whether they were born in our country. As an institution, we remain firm in our commitment in denouncing all forms of bigotry and racism, which have no place in a free and equal society.
The University of Nevada, Reno is a caring and safe community of students and employees from a broad range of backgrounds with differing beliefs. This community will not be divided by hateful language and violence. Our learning environment respects the right to freely express views and debate openly in civil discourse. There will be clashes of beliefs and opinions, but they must be peaceful. As a community, we abhor violence and it has no place on our campus. If we are to come to greater understanding of each other, it will be through open, honest, non-violent discussion and exploration of all ideas. Educating ourselves on the other's point of view is the key to understanding and peaceful co-existence.
The tragedy that occurred this weekend in Virginia is an important reminder that we must recognize the perspectives of all individuals. Peaceful assembly and exchange of ideas is part of the bedrock of any free society. We will maintain a commitment to the safe, peaceful expression and exchange of ideas on our campus.
President Marc A. Johnson