The announcement in Ferguson, Missouri, last week has stirred up a range of emotions among our community. Many of you have taken to social media or other venues to express your beliefs and engage in debates. We encourage these conversations and believe they shouldn’t be limited to this one event.
At the heart of George Mason University’s mission is to support academic freedom and a diversity of thought.
But as much as we value freedom of speech, we also expect our community to show compassion and civility while exercising that right. Listening to varying points of view does not mean you must change your beliefs. It simply demonstrates common courtesy and a respect for others.
Please remember that the safety of our students, faculty and staff is also at the center of our mission. The university will not tolerate bullying of any kind. Spoken or written remarks that are profane, threatening, discriminatory or demeaning do not reflect the spirit of the George Mason University community. And any member of the university community who threatens to commit a violent act toward anyone on campus will be subject to disciplinary action, expulsion, dismissal from employment and even criminal and civil charges.
I strongly encourage you to have many vigorous and meaningful discussions with your peers during your time here, while respecting and tolerating differing points of view. Only through open discussion of ideas and opinions can we reach a mutual understanding – even if that understanding is to disagree.
Vice President for University Life