From the Office of the President, San Francisco State University
San Francisco State University is recognized worldwide for making social justice a strategic priority; it is an integral part of our DNA. As president, I was deeply disturbed by incendiary language that marred an annual commemoration of a cultural mural on campus.
On November 7, 2013 members of the campus community gathered to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the installation of a mural honoring Edward Said. Nearby, several student organizations were staffing tables to raise awareness of their groups' activities. One table was set up to allow passers-by to create their own placards with a pre-made stencil, which read, “My heroes have always killed colonizers.”
I am dismayed by the glorification of violence that this message conveys. There is no place at SF State for celebrating violence or promoting intolerance, bigotry, anti-Semitism or any other form of hate-mongering. We are a university community committed to furthering civil dialogue. Each of us must remain vigilant in working to achieve this goal.
The university is a place where dialogue, debate and the marketplace of ideas are cherished. We must also maintain a safe environment. Engaging in expressions that threaten and intimidate are counter to these goals. In addition to conveying my firm commitment to a safe and civil campus environment directly to any students involved, I will be meeting with members of the campus community to express my concerns, and to learn more about their perceptions of our current campus climate. University leadership will continue to gather information about this occurrence and address it appropriately. We prize our role as a forum for open discourse and we will continue to work toward a campus culture that cherishes civility.
This appears to be California-speak for "No further action will be taken"
The Amcha initiative has responded to Pres. Wong's letter, urging him to take concrete steps to discipline the appropriate parties. Their email follows:
In direct response to a letter from AMCHA co-founders as well as letters from many AMCHA supporters, yesterday SFSU President posted a statement on his official University website, in which he condemned an on-campus event glorifying murder and acknowledged that there is “no place at SF State for celebrating violence or promoting intolerance, bigotry, anti-Semitism or any other form of hate-mongering.” President Wong also stated that the University will continue its investigation of this reprehensible event. (You can see President Wong's Statement HERE).
In response to his statement, AMCHA co-founders have sent the following letter to President Wong commending him for taking these important first steps and urging him to appropriately discipline the responsible parties:
Dear President Wong,
We commend you for your statement condemning an on-campus event which glorified murder, and for your acknowledgement that there is “no place at SF State for celebrating violence or promoting intolerance, bigotry, anti-Semitism or any other form of hate-mongering.” We also commend you for initiating an investigation of what we believe is clearly an antisemitic event.
We hope that at the end of your investigation, all those responsible for this incident — whether students, faculty, or staff — will be disciplined for their behavior, which violates the tenets of civil discourse and may be unlawful.
We and other concerned members and supporters of the Jewish community are eager to know what steps you will take to ensure that such behavior is appropriately addressed and does not re-occur at San Francisco State University.
Co-founder, AMCHA Initiative
Co-founder, AMCHA Initiative