Committing to our values

Nov. 11, 2016

Dear friends,

“The University of Denver is its people—all its people.”

This is the first line of our statement on diversity, equity and inclusive excellence. A core value of the University, inclusiveness is the cornerstone of our community and allows us to address and meet the greatest challenges facing us in the century ahead.

In order for our community to function and thrive, our members need to be safe and feel their voices are respected, even amidst disagreements. We must care for one another, stand up for one another and challenge one another with the compassion and respect we all deserve.

This election season has been especially divisive. Across the political spectrum, many have felt threatened, marginalized or disenfranchised. There will always be events occurring in the nation, and in the world, which bring challenges to our campus. Increased reports of violence, threats and incivility across the country challenge us as a university to examine our own values.

As we grapple with this turbulence, the University’s commitment to inclusiveness as well as our care for one another must not waver. We are committed to one another and to improving the world. Because of these pledges to each other, we remain firm in our commitment to an open and inclusive community that can serve as a model for the nation.

Throughout this election season, I have heard many of your fears, anxieties, frustrations and anger. I want us to listen to each other deeply and together find ways to move forward as a community that serves the public good by educating the leaders of tomorrow. Leaders listen with their hearts and heads. We will do this in many ways.

I invite you to participate in a special event focusing on our community values; this year’s Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence Jan. 19-20, 2017 will be expanded as we come together to understand the issues facing our nation, and determine how we, as a university community, can expect better from one another.

During the Jan. 20 lunch, I will give a convocation-style address, where I will share my thoughts on our core values, including diversity and inclusion. Immediately following my lecture, faculty, staff and students will be invited to engage in small group discussions to reflect on my comments and continue conversations on creating an inclusive, affirming and equitable campus environment.

As we head toward the end of the term and many of you leave Denver for the winter break, please know that the University deeply cares about the well-being of all our community members—near and far.

Our community has been tested in recent times, and I am sure we will be tested again. I remain confident we are up to the challenge. Our values can and should unite us as we carry out our work and our mission.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Chopp, Chancellor

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