|In Response to Instances of Bullying and Harassment on College Campuses Nationwide, Vice President and Dean Tom Shandley Urges Respect and Support
October 19, 2010
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel, 704/894-2798
In response to recent incidents of bullying and harassment on several other college campuses, Tom Shandley--Davidson's Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students--yesterday sent the following message to students.
Dear Davidson Community,
In recent weeks the nation has been saddened by the suicides of several young people, including Tyler Clementi from Rutgers University, Raymond Chase of Johnson & Wales University, and younger students Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, and Billy Lucas. According to reports, these students--all of whom were gay--experienced bullying and harassment by their peers that precipitated their deaths.
On behalf of the Davidson community, our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, and colleagues of these students. Their deaths and the circumstances surrounding them remind us of the important role we play in supporting one another and assisting anyone who may be a victim of bullying or harassment.
As members of the Davidson community, I hope you will stand up for the principles that underlie our community and speak out against the kind of public shaming and humiliation to which these five students-and many others on a daily basis-have been subjected. During New Student Orientation, we affirmed the values that we hold dear in the "Community of Respect" conversations . Our Code of Responsibility calls on all students to respect one another in an environment where harassment of any form is not tolerated. Our recently adopted Statement on Diversity serves as a reminder of the kind of community we are and will continue to strive to be. It states:
Davidson's commitment to diversity and inclusivity is grounded in our college's Statement of Purpose and extends to the entire Davidson community.
The college seeks to foster mutual respect and understanding among and for all people of different cultures, ethnicities, race, religions, sexual orientations, genders, ages, national origins, socio-economic backgrounds, and physical abilities.
• We strive to enrich our community by attracting, supporting, and retaining students, faculty, and staff from a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives who bring a variety of talents, passions, and world views.
• We believe Davidson should be a place where those who live, work, and study see difference as an opportunity and stimulus to learn about themselves, each other, and the larger world.
• We are committed to assisting students in developing humane instincts and disciplined and creative minds for lives of leadership and service.
• We are intentional about deepening our knowledge, awareness, and understanding of all people, and we seek to develop skills to interact constructively across our differences.
We are compelled to act to make our community and the world more socially just because we recognize the dignity and worth of every person.
In the wake of these recent events, I encourage our community to recommit ourselves to these values.
Davidson students have a long-standing history of caring for others. As a reminder, the following resources are available to you should you or somebody you know experience bullying, degradation, or humiliation.
• Student Counseling Center
• Office of the Chaplain
• Dean of Students office
• Residence Life office
Let's make sure that no member of our community, or anyone with whom we interact, ever feels alone and helpless in the way that these students did.
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students