We are looking forward to welcoming your sons and daughters to George Mason University this week. Welcoming students at the start of the fall semester is a familiar ritual for us, but the excitement and energy we experience each year comes as we embrace the hopes and expectations of a new group of students. The growth and success of our students—your sons and daughters— is truly our highest priority.
This month, we witnessed a display of violence, racism, and bigotry in Charlottesville and on the University of Virginia’s campus. We know that many of our students (and many of you) are paying close attention to national issues and events as they make their way to college campuses. Please know that we take our responsibility to provide a safe and open community for our students seriously. As an institution of higher education, we commit ourselves to creating a climate where students and faculty can explore concepts and ideas with openness and respect. We support and create opportunities for students to express themselves and explore their beliefs. Our university mission – ‘We are an inclusive academic community committed to creating a just, free, and prosperous world’ – guides our work as we move forward in these unsettling times.
Each of us shares a responsibility for creating the community in which we live – this is a message we convey to all of our students as we monitor campus climate issues. We also work closely with our faculty and staff colleagues throughout the university to provide opportunities throughout the year, both formal and informal, in and out of class, for students to engage in discussions about controversial and sometimes polarizing issues. Staff members in all University/Student Life departments are prepared to engage with students about their unique experiences and to help them connect with others for personal and professional development.
I invite you to visit our website, ulife.gmu.edu, which connects you to many university resources. I hope you will become familiar with those resources, and contact us with any issues or questions. In addition, I hope you will take a moment to view our ‘Welcome to George Mason University’ video. It embodies our shared perspective of the inclusive community and the welcoming climate we seek to create here at George Mason University.
The consistent feedback we hear from graduating seniors is that the opportunity to work with, learn with, or live with someone different than themselves, has added to the quality of their overall Mason learning experience. As a Mason parent I hope you experience your son or daughter as being academically challenged both in the classroom and through their presence in our diverse campus community. We will do everything we can to help them achieve their goals and aspirations.
Best regards and I look forward to seeing you November 10 – 12 at Family Weekend,
Vice President for University Life