You are here: Joint Statement by Dean Starr and Interim Dean Chin

Responding to Hate on Campus

Joint statement by Dean Peter Starr and Interim Dean Christine BN Chin

1:15 p.m., September 27, 2017

Last night, over 100 members of the AU community gathered to hear our own Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's powerful vision of the new Antiracist Research and Policy Center, jointly sponsored by SIS and CAS. The Center's important work will be driven by the conviction that racial equity is a human right.

Later in the evening, Confederate flag posters with cotton branches attached were discovered in buildings across campus, including Battelle-Tompkins and SIS. This hateful act was clearly meant to strike fear, terror, and confusion in our community and to impede the progress we are committed to making through the Center's work. We condemn these racist acts in the strongest of terms and can say with conviction that they have failed in their mission.

We could not be more certain of our plans for this Center. The overflow crowd and online audience who listened to Dr. Kendi's vision and shared their ideas clearly demonstrate the support and enthusiasm of the full community for the Antiracist Research and Policy Center.

We, the Deans of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of International Service, are unequivocally committed to building a truly outstanding Antiracist Research and Policy Center under the leadership of Professor Kendi. We will not be intimidated by racist terror. These acts demonstrate now, more than ever, the need for this vital work to build racial equity and dismantle racist policies.

Dr. Kendi states that racist policies beget racist ideas. It is this new understanding of the origin and perpetuation of racism that will help us to effect real change. This Center will be built on the foundation of our institution's values of human dignity and social justice and will move forward with all possible speed.

We fully understand that members of our community may be feeling a range of emotions today and in the days to come and want to support you in every way that we can. AU has recently trained graduate students and staff to be available to facilitate challenging conversations on race-related topics. Please contact auconnects@american.edu for more information about facilitation services.

Christine BN Chin
Interim Dean, School of International Service

Peter Starr
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences