President's Message: War Tensions and the Campus Community
March 14, 2003
Dear Colleagues and Students:
In these tense times, with terrorist activities and the strong possibility of war filling the news, a quiet effort has been under way here on campus to make San Francisco State as safe and well-prepared a community as it can possibly be -- ready physically and psychologically to handle whatever may unfold.
I want you to know what we have done, and are ready to do, in case of war or some other terrible event. Our emergency preparedness, already excellent, has been boosted by refresher training for those directly involved. For the campus community as a whole, we have established a website that offers a tremendous range of helpful information. Titled "Tensions with Iraq: SFSU Resources," this site will become our central communication point in case of a military conflict. Our home page contains a link to the site; the direct URL is www.sfsu.edu/~news/iraq.
The Web site offers much more than guidelines for keeping this a safe and secure campus. You will also find such things as messages from Academic Senate Chair Robert Cherny and Human Relations University Dean Ken Monteiro about how we can best come together as a community, both in and outside the classroom.
Communication is central in any emergency, and we will use all means at our disposal to keep in touch with you. In addition to the "Tensions with Iraq: SFSU Resources" Web site, these means include e-mail, voicemail and the building supervisors (every building has one; the emergency preparedness Web site lists them).
After September 11, this campus came together spontaneously and strongly in ways that I believe comforted us all. If war is declared, we will need similar opportunities, and this time, we have made very specific plans for how we can provide them -- from an all-campus gathering, to sites for private meditation, opportunities for free speech opportunities, and places to meet for a well-led discussion.
I will mention one specific item. If war is declared on a weekday, we will gather in Malcolm X Plaza at 11 a.m. either that day or the following class day (depending on the timing of the news) for a program that includes both planned speakers (representing faculty, students, and administration) and a free speech period. If news comes on a weekend, we will gather on the following Monday. The full "Campus Programming in the Event of War," with locations for a range of ways to come together, can be found on the "Tensions with Iraq: SFSU Resources" Web site or directly at www.sfsu.edu/~news/iraq/events1.htm.
We are also addressing the concerns aroused by reports of federal queries on campuses across the nation. Please know that we will do the utmost to preserve the privacy of all members of the campus community during these challenging times. We have established a clear procedure for handling any inquiries we might receive. No employee will respond directly, but instead will refer the query to Public Safety Chief Kim Wible, who is well versed in the provisions -- and limitations -- of the law.
I can assure you that whatever the course of national or world events, San Francisco State University remains a community committed to the values that can help us get through painful and frightening times: free speech, mutual respect even in disagreement, and a conviction that to practice peace on campus is a meaningful contribution to peace in the wider world.
Robert A. Corrigan