Letter to the USC Campus Community

September 22, 2015

We are writing to you in response to a recent disturbing case of intolerance. Our community shared strong reactions of sadness, anger and dismay as racist conduct by a student brought shame to all of USC.

This incident does not reflect or represent who we are. The USC Trojan Family is proud of our exceptional diversity and our commitment to forming a global community. Indeed, our students hail from more than 150 different nations and our campus is home to all the world’s great religions. Inherent in the commitment to a universal campus is the understanding and expectation that all members of our community feel included, respected and safe.

Far more reflective of our university is the strong outpouring of support for our Undergraduate Student Government President and the widespread revulsion at the derogatory attack on her identity. We must confront hateful speech by condemning it as a united community. But such a reaction is only possible when students speak up.

The university hosts a website that provides information for reporting bias incidents and education on what can be classified as bias or hate incidents and crimes. The site provides examples of bias and makes it easy to report an incident:

http://studentaffairs.usc.edu/bias-assessment-response-support/

We urge anyone who has experienced bias or a hate crime to report the incident and give the university an opportunity to respond. Although the constitutional right to free speech protects much hateful and bigoted speech, we expect all students to uphold our Principles of Community, which include respect for diverse beliefs and backgrounds as one of our highest ideals.

All of us are responsible for creating an inclusive and global community. Part of that involves reporting such incidents when they happen, and encouraging and supporting to those who are hesitant to do so.

It is when we act in unity to combat such incidents that we send the strongest message that there is no place at USC for intolerance and bigotry.

joint signatures