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President's letter to Task Force Chair
regarding preliminary recommendations


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August 8, 2002

Karen Clopton, Chair
President's Task Force on Inter-group Relations:
Initial Focus on the Effect of Middle East Issues on Campus Life
SFSU Foundation, Inc.

Dear Karen:

I have reviewed the Preliminary Status Report and Recommendations you submitted to me from the Task Force on Inter-group Relations: Initial Focus on the Effect of Middle East Issues on Campus Life. Thank you and all of the Task Force members for your hard work and diligence in meeting the initial deadline of August 1, 2002, for the short-term agenda. While the breadth of these initial recommendations is quite impressive, I appreciate your statement that "this report is not the culmination of the process but instead the beginning."

I wholeheartedly endorse the initial recommendations regarding campus policies on the conduct of rallies and the expression of free speech; orientation programs for students, staff, administrators, and faculty; colloquia, special events, and discussions; and psychological counseling services. With respect to the recommendations regarding employment practices and the University's curriculum, I request that the Task Force, in conjunction with the Director of Human Resources, the Academic Senate Chair, and the liaison from CUSP II, continue to develop a plan for refining and implementing these recommendations.

As members of the Task Force know, last fall, shortly after the September 11 attacks, I proposed that the University begin to seek outstanding scholars who could help us build strength in the interdisciplinary and wide-ranging field of Islamic Studies. On June 27 I was able to announce the steps we had taken to expand dramatically the University's faculty resources in this area. I also described our interest in creating one of the country's first Islamic Studies Programs, an effort that will be shaped by the new Islamic Studies specialists arriving on campus this year and next. Announced on the same day was the appointment of the first holder of our endowed chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility. History and ethics scholar Marc Dollinger will assume his responsibilities on August 19. His appointment was made possible by a $1 million private gift from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.

The first recommendation on page 11, regarding co-curricular activities, should be implemented immediately and we will develop a master calendar and encourage collaboration as the Task Force has suggested. In addition, I agree that we should move forward with establishing an appropriate Islamic Studies fundraising committee to help raise private support and should help the Jewish Studies Program reactivate its Board of Advisors, which also has served this purpose.

As requested, I have authorized the hiring of additional clerical personnel to support the work of the Task Force and I encourage you to move forward with your monthly Task Force meetings and regular subcommittee meetings.

Again, thank you and the members of the Task Force for the hard work, commitment and cooperation evidenced by this report.

Sincerely yours,

Robert A. Corrigan

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Last modified August 8, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs