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Human Relations Dean Ken Monteiro's message
on maintaining campus community


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On the eve of potential war, the world is expectant with possibilities, many frightening, and some promising. Whatever occurs on the battlefield, the San Francisco State community must prepare for peace at home. SFSU must be a place that is safe for all of our students and employees no matter their background and no matter their personal or political views. I am writing to ask Chairs and Directors for your help in this preparation and to encourage you to share this with your faculty and staff.

Our campus community has been through difficult times before. Difficult times in the world produce uncomfortable times everywhere, including at SFSU. Yet, with only a few exceptions to the rule, SFSU has consistently been a safe haven to diverse and even disagreeing parties. SFSU has demonstrated that it can and must remain safe and open, especially during times of great national emergencies.

To that end, many within our community are committed to keeping the campus open, safe and democratic. To assist in maintaining the quality of campus life, I would offer the following suggestions to supervisors and faculty:

  • Familiarize yourself, your faculty and staff with your departmental and building emergency plans.
  • Within your departments or offices, discuss what each person could do to help others feel safer and also what contribution, big or small, your office could make to the campus (e.g. providing a quiet area where individuals can take a break from the tension of the situation, sponsoring a small program, displaying posters that encourage tolerance and understanding).
  • Consider and discuss with your colleagues the tips and resources for handling stressful circumstances that are located at the following Web site.
  • While we clearly all have our right to express or reserve our personal views on war or any other important private values, remind all faculty and other employees that our classrooms and offices must be safe places for everyone to exercise these same rights to expression no matter their perspective.
  • Check the University calendar for programs that may be either informative or helpful for you, your colleagues or your classes. For example I would strongly recommend the Women's History Month program on Women, War and Militarization starting this week.
  • If war or another national emergency should occur, check the SFSU main Web site, your voicemail and e-mail for news, information and programs that might be relevant to the ongoing situation. For example, the campus is prepared to open free speech and quiet spaces for individuals who need either should there be a formal declaration of war. The times and locations of these activities will be posted on the Web site.
  • Consider seeking assistance and recommending assistance to others from Counseling and Psychological Services (338-2208) when they would be helpful.
  • Contact the Office of Human Relations for concerns about possible discrimination or harassment, access needs, or consultation on diversity programming (405-0434).
  • Remember that the Department of Public Safety is a valuable resource for helping to insure your security and can be contacted at 338-7200.
  • Stay informed about the range of assistance or programming that is surely to be forthcoming from other departments or offices.

In sum, be prepared with as many resources and options as possible and remain flexible so that you can adapt to meet the real needs of the moment. These brief suggestions are intended to stimulate thought and to provide some core resources. If you would like to share other ideas or resources, send them to me and I will post them on the Office of Human Relations Web site.

Most importantly, I would emphasize that we are not slaves to our circumstances. We can choose to maintain a healthy community no matter what transpires. SFSU has always been a leader in maintaining a campus that is open to freedom of expression and diversity of ideas. As times become more difficult, greater leadership will be demanded from all of us. We are more than equal to the task.

In peace,
Ken Monteiro

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Last modified March 14, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs