A Message from President Glassner and Dean Gonzalez on an Issue of Community Safety and Concern
November 21, 2015
Dear Lewis & Clark parents and alumni,
Recently, there have been some troubling events on campus, and we want to make sure you’re informed with the facts, as we know them, and what we’re doing. Late last night, one of our students who is black was physically assaulted on campus by three white males who have not yet been identified. Our student was treated on scene by medical personnel, returned to his residence hall, and is now physically safe and is being supported on campus by staff and friends. At his request, we are respecting his privacy and not sharing his name.
Earlier this week, some racist posts were made on Yik Yak, a social media network that allows people on or near campus to make anonymous posts. We have chosen not to share those hateful postings here so as not to amplify the message or further empower the poster.
We don’t know if these incidents are directly related. We are not dismissing the possibility that the assault is a hate or bias crime, nor are the law enforcement agencies that are investigating the assault. Anyone with information about either of these incidents is encouraged to contact Campus Safety (503-768-7777) or the Portland Police Bureau (Central Precinct, 503-823-0097, or the general non-emergency line at 503-823-3333). In an emergency, call 911 immediately. Information gathered will help to ensure the safety of the entire Lewis & Clark community.
We are committed to Lewis & Clark being a safe, welcoming, and equitable place. We will not condone racist rhetoric and violence, discrimination, or hate speech and are fully cooperating with the authorities to identify the people responsible for these recent events.
We are, first and foremost, a vibrant educational community of scholars and students. We are engaged in meaningful work, and our classes and activities will continue.
We are addressing these incidents in the following ways:
- Investigating Assault: Portland Police were immediately called to campus and are investigating the assault. As mentioned, we are cooperating fully with these law enforcement officials. We have asked students to call Portland Police or Campus Safety if they have additional information.
- Investigating Yik Yak Posts: The College is aggressively following up with city leaders and law enforcement to identify the anonymous people posting the troubling, racist messages on Yik Yak.
- Campus Security: We have increased campus security, hiring additional outside security on campus starting this afternoon. We have advised students to not walk alone at night, to use the buddy system, and to look out for one another.
- Student Support: Counseling Services are available to all students: undergraduate, graduate, and law. On weekends, students may contact counseling at 503-265-7804. On weekdays during business hours, students may contact the Counseling Service at 503-768-7160. Students living on campus can also seek support through their Resident Advisors and Area Directors.
- Upcoming Events: We encourage continuing the critical dialogue in positive and respectful ways. There will be an interfaith gathering tomorrow, Sunday, November 22, at 6 p.m. in Agnes Flanagan Chapel. On Monday, November 23, students are invited by the Exploration & Discovery Steering Committee to an open forum on the E&D curriculum. The conversation will be held from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m. in Council Chamber.
- Ongoing Programs: The institution-wide Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) is central to our efforts. The members of this group represent the many of us who work on programs and initiatives relating to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of life at Lewis & Clark. Our Department of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME) is responsible for leading Lewis & Clark’s efforts toward its commitment to a diverse, inclusive, and multicultural campus community. IME engages students, faculty, staff, and community partners to promote an inclusive campus climate; provide academic, social, and programmatic support to students from underrepresented communities; and help students develop a greater understanding of their global citizenship through the intercultural exchange of ideas and traditions.
To ensure the safety of everyone in our community, and to respond to our students’ concerns and needs, our priority is to find the people posting hate speech and the assailants quickly. We will not allow this situation to distract us from our mission of cultivating scholars in an engaging, creative environment. Even as we look forward to a swift and just resolution of these troubling incidents, we recognize this as an opportunity to have difficult but necessary conversations about the society in which we live, and to celebrate the cultural, ethnic, and social diversity of the Lewis & Clark community.
For ongoing updates on these matters, please visit The Source.
Barry Glassner, President
Anna Gonzalez, Dean of Students