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Speech, Respect and Support During Difficult Times

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Dear Campus Community Members,

Yesterday’s events on the Main Mall are a reminder that our university has a highly-engaged student body. Student activism has been a hallmark of The University of Texas at Austin going back to at least the 1930s and the protests surrounding the Kavanaugh nomination are a legacy of that tradition.

My experience as a professor teaching difficult subjects on divisive issues has shown me first-hand how important it is to have honest dialogue even when it is uncomfortable. An open exchange of ideas is critical to the health of our democracy and vital to the intellectual climate of our campus.

Given the importance of debate and intellectual exchange I believe that all student organizations and individual students have a right to express their opinions on campus. The University of Texas at Austin is a place for dialogue, and at times there will be views expressed that some may disagree with. All members of our community deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

We hear that many sexual assault victims on campus have described feeling unsupported, ignored, and traumatized. As a university that has taken great strides to address issues of sexual assault, we realize that more work needs to be done and we want all students to be supported regardless of background or experience.

That support extends to students from all walks of life and backgrounds as we help create a richer, more inclusive campus and I urge you take advantage of campus resources and programs. DDCE and its staff always maintain an open-door policy to meet with students. Likewise, I welcome discussions with concerned students as well during my regular office hours on Thursdays from 1-3 PM and by appointment in MAI 300. Additionally, the office of the Dean of Students offers numerous services available to all students.

Please take care of each other, and know that we are here for you.


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Leonard N. Moore
Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
George W. Littlefield Professor of American History