Thursday, February 7, 2013

Student Statement of Solidarity With Duke University Student Body

This from our marvelous students at Penn State.  It is a communication addressed to the students at Duke University.  Please join them in supporting Penn State's core integrity principle of doing the right thing.  
(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2013)

Dear all,

I read about the unfortunate, insensitive party that occurred at your university recently. I am writing because we had a similar incident happen at Penn State where images of a "Mexican themed party" surfaced and were all over the news. After the link to the incident at your campus was shared with me, I shared it with the Chair of our Faculty Senate, Professor of International Law, Larry Backer. He asked if I had reached out to you - and I found his question to be an excellent idea.

Chair Backer gave students the privilege of the floor at our recent Faculty Senate meeting (Jan 29) to allow another student and myself to address the need for more diversity education and multicultural interaction among students at Penn State. He strongly promotes diversity education and awareness. We have a newly student organized Diversity Awareness Task Force, and our statement was well received by the Senate and administration. A Joint task force of students, senators, and administrators is in the process of being developed. Chair Backer has two blogs you might want to see, and the links are below:

Tragically, our society has fooled itself into thinking racism doesn't exist, but in the last two months I've gained knowledge from my peers (now good friends) from various multicultural groups, just how rampant it still is. I have attached a copy of the statement we read to the Faculty Senate to give you an idea how the students went about addressing this issue.

You are not alone in your efforts to stop bigotry and racism, and know that you have friends at Penn State willing to help you.


Brian Aynardi
Ph.D. Student and GSA Faculty Senate Representative
Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
The Pennsylvania State University

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