The following was sent as an email from SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian to the campus community on Dec. 4, 2014:
Dear Members of the Campus Community:
As many of you know, two grand juries have decided not to indict officers involved in the killing of two unarmed men, Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner of Staten Island, New York. The issues around these events are complex and inspire passionate reactions and responses from all perspectives.
We are glad to see the actions and outreach of our faculty and staff who have provided some forums for discussion and we encourage all to participate in this programming when possible. We recognize that many within our community are seeking safe spaces or other outlets to discuss these events. We encourage all faculty to create a safe space, perhaps a few moments of class time, where you check in with students and offer them the opportunity to exchange ideas or sentiments. In doing so, we ask that all members of the community engage in respectful and professional dialogue, even as these conversations can be difficult. We also want to assure our students, that if you are having difficulty with these events that you can seek the assistance of faculty, Student Affairs Staff, and Counseling Services.
Discussions help to educate one another on the complexities of these events and can be powerful in building individual connections and deeper understanding of one another.
Donald P. Christian
Tanhena Pacheco Dunn
Executive Director for Compliance & Campus Climate and Title IX Coordinator/AAO