By Judie Wexler August 17, 2017

Dear Members of our CIIS Community,

I have watched with mounting horror as events unfolded in Charlottesville and its aftermath. The hatred, bigotry, and racism that characterized those events must be vigorously denounced. To do any less is to support an environment in which groups that stand for hatred and racism feel encouraged and empowered to step out of the shadows and invite others to join them.

We are seeing evidence of this happening and cannot allow it to stand unchecked. I write on behalf of our CIIS community to affirm our commitment to diversity and inclusion, to the open and peaceful expression of ideas, and to express our abhorrence for acts of violence, discrimination, and hate speech of any kind.

Through its history of practice, core values, and Seven Commitments, CIIS stands firmly for respect for all individuals, social, ecological, racial, and economic justice, transformative scholarship, and the free exchange of ideas. We are committed to freedom of expression and assembly, within the bounds of our laws and the conduct of a civil society.

As a university committed to transformation and social justice, we are asking how we can contribute to building understanding and change in the face of these events.

In denouncing the hatred and racism we have seen expressed, we must also ask ourselves what we will do to undermine these sinister forces and to support those who are being impacted by them.

In the short term, we are organizing our Wellness Center to provide support for students, faculty, and staff who are grappling with the statements they are hearing and the images they are seeing. We will also provide information for those who decide to join marches or demonstrations and a focal point on campus for expressions around these events.

In the longer term, we will be asking our academic programs to look at how they can contribute to building understanding and working towards positive change and collective healing. We are also exploring a series of lunch presentations by faculty to invite dialogue across subjects and groups.

At a time of social disruption, CIIS is adding its voice to the many who speak for human decency and regard for all.

With respect and best wishes,

Judie Wexler
President Emerita

CIIS Administration, Former President, Community

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