University of Northern Colorado president sends video message condemning election-related attacks on UNC students
November 11, 2016
Still to come
On Sunday, The Tribune will dive into a week filled with anxiety, fear and conflict in Greeley schools, including local high schools and incidents at the University of Northern Colorado.
University of Northern Colorado president Kay Norton late Friday sent a video message to campus addressing heightened tensions during the election and condemning "unacceptable" attacks on students at UNC.
The video, sent after 6 p.m. Friday, came after a UNC professor sent an open letter admonishing Norton for failing to condemn bias-related incidents on campus as several university presidents have, including those at Colorado State University, Oregon State University and others.
The open letter, penned by Spencer Bagley, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, and signed by numerous faculty, staff and students, was sent about 3 p.m. Friday.
There have been numerous reports of minority students at UNC being singled out, including black students being subjected to use of the N-word, Muslim students being fearful of coming to class and Latino and Latina students being the subject of vitriol.
Norton's 2-minute video starts with a nod to what she calls a "bitter and hard-fought presidential election."
"Elections are necessarily about a winner and a loser, but our university community is not about winners and losers," Norton said in the video. "It is, in fact, a family. And like all families, we may disagree — even vehemently — with each other. But in the end, we come together because we are members of the family, and all members of the family are welcome and necessary."
In the open letter, Bagley said various members of the university community have watched with horror the spike in bias-related incidents and hate crimes on college campuses.
Bagley went on to say that university presidents who took a stand against such incidents represented hope in reaffirming tolerance and student safety.
"We believe that as the leader of this campus, you have both a duty and an obligation to speak out against acts of violence against any member of the campus community," Bagley's letter read, in part. "We believe that silence from higher administration on this issue is unacceptable. We admonish you to do the right thing."
It's unclear whether Norton's video message came in direct response to the open letter. In the video, Norton opened by introducing herself before getting right to the point.
"I've heard that on our campus, there have been incidents in which members of the university community have attacked other members of the university community based upon their identity, their perceived affiliation, and I want you to know that this is unacceptable in our university community," Norton said in the video.
Tyler Silvy covers education for The Greeley Tribune. Reach him at email@example.com. Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.