A Message From Dean Robert Jerry

Published: December 4th, 2006

Category: Students

Last week we had an incident on our campus involving comments written on a classroom whiteboard. Although neither the identity nor the intent of the writer is known, the comments could be and were interpreted by some members of our community as reflecting negatively on their ethnic  and cultural heritage. Communications intended to show disrespect to or degrade other persons or groups are inappropriate and not to be tolerated. Beyond the question of intent, however, we must be aware that  our words and actions can have a negative impact on others, and each of us must be careful to reflect upon how our words and actions will be understood by others. Hurtful language and actions do not become appropriate and acceptable in our community — or in our profession — by virtue of the absence of a specific intent to hurt others.

Within our community, we do not practice and we do not tolerate harassing or threatening behavior, intimidation, abuse of authority, the use of degrading language toward any person or group, impeding any community member’s right to communicate his or her ideas simply because of disagreement with the content, or lack of civility toward those with opposing views.

As members of the legal profession, we have a special obligation to assist our society in dealing with injustice and unfair treatment of individuals and groups. As members of our law school community, we are expected to fulfill this obligation in our interactions with others in the college and the university.