Swastika drawn on wall in Aggie Village

Email sent to Aggie Village housing residents on Sept. 18, 10:25 p.m.

Aggie Village Residents,

We have received a report of a swastika drawn on the wall next to a Community Coordinator’s apartment in Lodgepole. I wish I did not need to share this news with you.  Our campus is already struggling with so much anger and pain. And that is even more reason to reiterate: the use of symbols of hate and violence is not acceptable in our community and causes lasting harm. Given the recent blackface incident at our university and reports of anti-Semitic behavior on the rise across the U.S., we are deeply disturbed by this latest report and we are asking the Aggie Village community to come together to support one another and help create an inclusive culture.

If you witnessed this incident or know anything about it, please contact CSUPD at 970-491-6425 or submit a report to the bias reporting website (supportandsafety.colostate.edu/incidents-of-bias).

Earlier this evening, University Housing hosted round table conversations in the halls to provide a forum to discuss racism, bias, and free speech issues at the university and we will be scheduling one at Aggie Village next week. This is just the beginning of what we hope will be an engaged process to explore and address these topics as a community as we move through this year. Similar discussions and action steps will be developed at a university level and I invite each of you to be part of the process and take an active role with individual as well as collective action to create a “No Place 4 H8.” While we cannot control the actions of individuals, we can come together as a community to work toward the culture we’d like to see at the university.

We know that this incident will impact members of our community and I encourage you to reach out to resources on campus for support:

If you have any questions or concerns please respond to this email or contact me individually. University Housing staff are here to support you in any way we can.

In solidarity,
Helena Gardner, Director of University Housing

Instagram photo of students in blackface

Message sent to all students, faculty and staff on Friday, Sept 13, 2019

Dear CSU Community,

Our students, faculty, staff, and alumni were deeply harmed, hurt, frightened, and angered by a photo posted on Instagram last weekend by a CSU student. We promised that we would respond with action, and we uphold that promise. Blackface has a racist history that evokes fear, anger, and sorrow. It is a dehumanizing practice that continues today, and it is despicable. As your President, I will lead the work that we must do together to stand against racism on our campuses and in our community.

Those impacted by these incidents tell us they have not felt heard, respected, or healed by our response so far. Here are some immediate actions we will take to deepen our understanding of the dynamics of racism, the damage it does to our community, and how we can fight it together.

  • Fund Student-Led Initiatives: In the next few weeks, we will call for formal proposals from students for implementable initiatives to combat racism at CSU.
  • Fund Faculty/Staff-Led Initiatives: In the next few weeks, we will call for formal proposals from faculty and staff for implementable initiatives to combat racism at CSU.
  • Student Conduct Code discussions: This semester, we will invite all CSU students to participate in open discussions about the CSU Student Conduct Code: what it is, what conduct it covers, where the First Amendment intersects with the code, and other questions.
  • Diversity Symposium Event: I am already planning to sit down with our Vice President for Diversity, Vice President Mary Ontiveros, for a candid conversation, Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at the LSC. Our conversation will focus on how we can work together to truly address racism on our campus.  Our conversation will be part of the upcoming campus-wide Diversity Symposium (October 14-18), which features extensive, dynamic programming, including keynote speaker Kimberlé Crenshaw.  We urge all campus community members to attend the Symposium.
  • Candid Conversations: In October, I will invite all of our students of color to a candid conversation with me, Vice President Ontiveros, and Dr. Blanche Hughes, Vice President for Student Affairs. On October 31, all our students are invited to an Open Forum conversation with me.

There is much more in the works, all of which we will share with you.  But we also want to hear from you.  I invite every member of the CSU community to email my office directly (president_office@mail.colostate.edu) with your constructive and actionable ideas for next steps we can take to heal our community.

Thank you all very much,

Joyce E. McConnell
Colorado State University

Message sent to all students, faculty and staff on Tuesday, Sept 10, 2019

Important message for the CSU campus community

Dear CSU Students, Faculty and Staff,

Over the weekend, an image was posted on Instagram of several CSU students in blackface. Because of the long and ugly history of blackface in America, this photo has caused a great deal of pain to members of our community. We have heard from many of you—and we hear you. Moreover, we respect your voices. We know that images like this one—whether consciously racist or not—can perpetuate deliberate racism and create a climate that feels deeply hostile.

We also affirm that personal social media accounts are not under our jurisdiction. Our community members—students, faculty and staff—can generally post whatever they wish to post on their personal online accounts in accordance with their First Amendment rights. This recent post runs counter to our principles of community, but it does not violate any CSU rule or regulation, and the First Amendment prohibits the university from taking any punitive action against those in the photo.

But there is still plenty we can doCSU is an educational institution committed to respecting every member of our community and to facilitating discussions that can promote honesty, learning, and healing. Our offices have already asked faculty and staff to share their professional expertise and personal wisdom on the issues that this posted image raises about race and identity. We will share more details next week regarding planned events and conversations.

We are all here at CSU to learn, and we believe that this can be a powerful learning moment that leads to healing and reconciliation.  We urge every member of our community to listen, and to hear, all the voices that make up this wonderful, diverse campus family so we can move forward together, stronger than ever.



Joyce McConnell, President

Blanche Hughes, Vice President for Student Affairs

Mary Ontiveros, Vice President for Diversity