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WEDNESDAY-UPDATE  2005

WEDNESDAY-UPDATE 2005

Subject:

Official University Response to Alligator Editorial Cartoon

From:

University of Florida <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 19 Sep 2005 11:12:51 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (43 lines)

Date: September 19, 2005

To: All University of Florida Undergraduate Students

From: Dr. Patricia Telles-Irvin, Vice President for Student Affairs

Re: Official University Response to Alligator Editorial Cartoon

The importance and consequences for one's actions and statements was well
illustrated this week. From my perspective we cannot speak of rights
without taking responsibility for our actions or statements, and
understanding the unintended/ intended consequences. One of our roles as
a learning institution is to teach our students to express themselves but
to do so in a fair and conscientious manner. In the academic setting,
differences of opinions are encouraged, yet such opinions must be
expressed civilly and with respect. As a community, we must teach the
concept of being responsible to each other.

The recent editorial cartoon with its associated editorial comment printed
in the Independent Florida Alligator demonstrated a need for further
education on the balance of these principles. There was a significant
disconnect between the two principles and a lack of respect and awareness
of our mission as an institution. Moreover, the symbolisms utilized were
hurtful and inappropriate; and regardless of their original intent,
reinforced negative stereotypes of individuals within our community. This
is unacceptable. The message conveyed by the cartoon and the editorial
comment are inconsistent with the university values of respecting others
and valuing diversity. Diversity is not just about numbers, it is about
the appreciation of differences and the collective understanding of the
richness and strength these differences bring to our community.

The University of Florida is committed to being an institution of
excellence, where all members are valued. Our role as an institution is to
create opportunities for students to learn in an open and accepting
environment; one which emphasizes respect for one and other. As a
reminder, part of our mission is to prepare our students to be effective
in our diverse and global community.

I want to encourage our university community to take hold of this
occurrence to further a greater understanding of what we value as an
institution, to embrace the concept of inclusiveness not divisiveness and
to realize that we all lose out when a community member loses sight of the
relationship between rights and responsibilities.

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