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UNR president's statement on Charlottesville

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Equal opportunity, inclusiveness and diversity are core values for the University of Nevada, Reno. We must always encourage a campus environment that supports and respects all members of our diverse learning community. This defining principle includes standing against all forms of bigotry, hatred and racism, as well as providing learning environments that are peaceful and encourage the free exchange of ideas. We also stand for the basic principles of the Constitution, which says we have freedoms to peacefully assemble and to have free speech.

Over the weekend, tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, have brought about several questions regarding these defining principles. The University unequivocally rejects the positions and ideology that were espoused during the white supremacist rally that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia.

There have been numerous inquiries about Peter Cvjetanovic, a student at our University who participated in the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Based on discussion and investigation with law enforcement, our attorneys and our Office of Student Conduct, there is no constitutional or legal reason to expel him from our University or to terminate his employment.

We realize there are concerns regarding the safety of our campus, particularly for students, faculty and staff. Our Police Department has been coordinating resources and information with all local law enforcement agencies to ensure that we have a safe campus. We have a strong law enforcement community in northern Nevada as well as federal law enforcement representatives who are working closely with members of University Police Services to ensure that our campus remains a safe and welcoming place.

We are also providing resources for faculty and students in how best to discuss and interpret information related to the events in Charlottesville, and, in a larger context, how important subjects such as race relations figure into a positive learning atmosphere in our classrooms and in our curriculum. Our Diversity Initiatives Office is currently working with administration, academic leadership and Student Services in developing a landing point of information and upcoming training sessions so that our faculty has all of the tools necessary to conduct civil and positive discussion regarding these important issues.

With students soon to move back onto campus, we are stressing that we must be vigilant regarding what we see and hear. We cannot ignore insensitive comments, hateful language or actions that threaten the safety of members of our community. Please report any of this type of behavior immediately to our Title IX office, 775-784-1547, or Police Department, 775-784-4013.

The First Amendment freedom of free speech requires us all to understand that sometimes support of this freedom can be uncomfortable. It is one of the most difficult freedoms we live with. It requires us to support the right of people to express views which we sometimes vehemently disagree.

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