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
The University of Nevada, Reno has removed its recognition of the Nevada Alpha Chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and invoked the consequence "loss of recognition" of the chapter for four years.
Pursuant to an investigation by the University's Office of Student Conduct, the decision to remove recognition of the fraternity is a formal resolution made by a student conduct hearing board, which consists of University students and faculty members. The Office of Student Conduct and the SAE fraternity were not able to resolve the allegations through informal resolution, therefore a formal resolution process began and a student conduct hearing was held Monday, May 22, 2017. SAE received the findings of the Student Conduct hearing board, Thursday, May 25, which recommended the sanction of "loss of recognition for four years." The chapter then filed an appeal with the Office of the Associate Dean of Students Thursday, June 1. The appeal by the fraternity was denied and the decision to remove recognition for four years stands. This process follows the University's disciplinary procedures for recognized clubs and organization.
The "loss of recognition" is based on violations prohibited by the University Student Code of Conduct, the 2016 Relationship Agreement for the Recognition for Social Fraternities and Sororities, and the University of Nevada, Reno Residence Based Alcohol Policy. "Loss of recognition" means the fraternity will not be afforded the rights, privileges and resources available to them under the relationship agreement.
"Violations to our Student Code of Conduct are not taken lightly," Kim Thomas, University assistant dean of student conduct, said. "Conduct that endangers the health or safety of any member or guest of the University cannot be tolerated."
The Office of Student Conduct does not investigate criminal violations and has no jurisdiction to do so. Student Conduct investigates violations of the Student Code of Conduct. The standard of proof for Student Conduct is preponderance of the evidence which means, "more likely than not."
As stated in our institutional mission, this University recognizes and embraces the critical importance of diversity in preparing students for global citizenship and is committed to a culture of excellence, inclusion and accessibility.
The January 27 executive order regarding border security and immigration enforcement has raised concern among members of our University community. Accordingly, the University is committed to offering support, resources and information to help our students, faculty, visiting scholars and staff fully understand the executive order's implications and take the most appropriate action. We recommend that students and scholars from any of the countries listed in the order stay in the United States for at least the next 120 days.
The staff of our Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will be closely monitoring the situation and can advise and answer questions as information becomes available. Individuals affected by this executive order are
advised to stay in regular contact with the Office via their website (www.unr.edu/oiss), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or
The Association of International Educators, formerly NAFSA, is providing information helpful in understanding the language and application (thus far) of the executive order on their website (www.nafsa.org).
The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities is also tracking this information closely and will be providing updates at their website (www.aplu.org).
We value the contributions made by our international faculty, staff and students to our learning environment, which in turn greatly enhances our ability to serve the needs of Nevada, the nation and the world. At the University of Nevada, Reno, we encourage diversity of experience and perspectives and must continue to embrace this important aspect of our mission while providing a safe and welcoming environment for all students and employees.
- Marc Johnson, President, University of Nevada, Reno