Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
I am excited to welcome all of you to the 2017-2018 academic year at Illinois State University. Thank you to the hundreds of people who volunteered their time during move-in and Welcome Week. All of you clearly demonstrated what it means to be a Redbird.
I also offer a special welcome to all of our new students, faculty, and staff. I am happy you have made Illinois State your university home for this stage of your lives. I know you have a great deal to offer, and I trust you will find the University and community have a lot to offer you.
We begin this semester with an awareness of recent events that spread from a public university campus to the front page of every newspaper in America. College campuses, which are known for embracing freedom of thought and speech, are sometimes targets for white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other groups that spew hate and intolerance toward others. They use their first amendment rights to voice racist, homophobic and supremacist rhetoric and hope that those who protest will become part of a spectacle that draws attention to their views.
Illinois State University welcomes the universe of ideas that define higher education. But I condemn those who use that right and privilege to undermine all tenets of human decency through the willful hate of others.
Illinois State is also a campus that values diversity—in fact Diversity is one of the five core values foundational to this University. As this new academic year unfolds, I ask you to join me in championing this most precious of our core values and to speak out against intolerance wherever you find it.
As always, I appreciate your support and your thoughts as we walk this path together as a community that seeks to learn and teach.
Larry H. Dietz