On Friday, Sept. 9, Western’s president Brad Baca, who assumed office July 1, sent a campus-wide email addressing a series of hateful incidents on campus:

Dear Students,

We were alerted that this summer, racial slurs were directed at students of color during their week-long MFA Creative Writing residency while visiting our community.  This week, we learned that ugly, racist and misogynistic graffiti was found on campus. We are angry, upset, and disheartened. While these incidents occurred both on and off campus by unknown individuals, the DEI committee, in these recent years since its inception, has become painfully aware that such incidents are unbearably common both on and off campus. 

We condemn these acts, but of course we cannot condemn without acting. Western shall do more than strongly condemn all acts of racism and discrimination. We do not accept the occurrences of such as “normal” or “expected”. As a university, we have an ethical responsibility to the campus and valley community to educate and develop training that results in real inclusion for all. We have incredible human capital and resources which can help our community and broader society grow in its inclusivity, and active anti-bigotry. 

Western’s administration, in partnership with faculty senate’s DEI committee, is determined to offer opportunities for education that can aid each of us in creating a safer and more inclusive campus and society. We will be offering bystander intervention training, and training on other skills and topics to the campus and to the broader Gunnison community. We will be working with statewide and local community leaders, including the Gunnison Country Times, on educational efforts, awareness raising, and providing resources to work toward a reality where racism and discrimination become rare and unacceptable. These conversations have already begun. We humbly request that you contribute your various talents, passions, and expertise to get this done. Please reach out to dei@western.edu to help us take action.

With determination,

President Baca and the DEI Committee