The Office of University Governance sent an email to KU faculty, staff and students Thursday addressing recent events on campus and denouncing “violence of all forms.”
Concerns over COVID-19, the recent Indigenous art vandalization at the Spencer Museum and the reported sexual assault of a KU student have caused many people in the community to feel unsafe, according to the statement.
The university governance acknowledged these events and wants students to feel supported, according to the email.
“While our return to campus brought much-needed community, the last week and a half has been both directly violent and violating to some members of our community. We know that this kind of violence can also trigger survivors and makes us all feel less safe,” the email said.
The university governance also condemned all racism and sexual violence and wants to stand with those who feel unsafe, especially considering the stress caused by the ongoing pandemic, they said in the email.
“Now more than ever, we must continue to denounce violence of all forms,” the email said. “Now more than ever, we must work together to create a community of care for all of us.”
In the statement, university governance said the vandalization of the KU Common Work of Art titled “Native Hosts” by Native American artist Edgar Heap of Birds at the Spencer Museum is still under investigation.
This has profoundly impacted the Indigenous community, the email said.
“Years of colonial violence make it impossible not to experience the desecration as racist,” the email said.
The email also addressed the recent reports of sexual assault on campus and offered support to the survivor. The email said university governance believes in due process, but also believes survivors and wants to stand with “the young woman whose college career was disrupted in this horrific way.”
“We are all thinking of you, Jane Doe; you have a community on this campus that will be here to support you, and peers that are fearlessly seeking justice for you,” the email said.
Next, the statement addressed the controversy surrounding Student Body President Niya McAdoo’s retweet stating “death to America.” The email said university governance stands in support of McAdoo’s right to free speech and condemns the “misogynist attacks” she has been receiving.
“We condemn these attacks,” the email said. “It is through our ability to stand together, whether we agree with one another or not, whether we look the same or not, to shield one another and to keep one another safe, that we will truly measure the strength of community.”
University governance encourages students to reach out to any of them if they need to talk, and they are proud of KU students for speaking up against acts like these, the email said.
“We also strongly believe that as a community we need to work together to ensure that all spaces feel safe and unthreatening to all of us,” the email said. “We are proud of KU students for their strength in standing up for all those who may not have the strength to stand alone.”