University President Jim Danko wrote the following message to the entire campus December 1.
Dear Butler University Students, Faculty and Staff:
According to our Statement of Guiding Principles, at Butler University we work toward respect and dignity for all individuals in our community and aim to promote an open and tolerant environment for voicing opinions.
As such, we honor our professors’ desires to promote inclusive and positive classrooms.
We also honor our students’ rights to express concerns about their educational experiences at Butler.
This past week, we were challenged to live up to these ideals after the publication of an article on the website The College Fix, in which one of our students described concerns about a professor’s preference for inclusive language within the course.
While I respect the student’s right to take issue with the use of inclusive language within the course, we should recognize that inclusive language is encouraged and supported at Butler University, at many other institutions of higher education and in many disciplines.
Inclusive dialogue helps prepare our students to interact with others professionally and fairly in an increasingly diverse America.
And importantly, it creates a respectful environment for all people.
As many students, faculty and staff have engaged in discussions about the article in the past week, I am proud of the fact that in keeping with our guiding principles, many of our community members have remembered that there are always at least two sides to every story.
Unfortunately, some responses we have received from individuals not associated with Butler University who read the article online have targeted various individuals at Butler in ways that have involved personal verbal attacks and hateful language.
We have taken care to ensure the safety and well-being of those on our campus who have been the recipients of these responses.
I know that several groups on campus are planning events that will allow further discussion of the article and responses to it, and I encourage you to attend such events if you are interested.
As this issue is further debated on our campus, I strongly encourage each of you to remember the humanity and feelings of those with whom you disagree.
Furthermore, I know I can expect the highest level of civility and respect from each of us in accordance with our university’s values.