Jump to Navigation

Statements on Recent Bias Incidents

Statements on Recent Bias Incidents

President Lee C. Bollinger issued the following statement to the Columbia
community October 11, 2007, in response to an incident on campus:

Dear fellow member of the Columbia community:

I am saddened to report that one of the bathrooms in Lewisohn Hall was sullied with an anti-Semitic smear. It has been promptly removed and is now being investigated.

I want to make two points. When words are the offender, as in this incident, I am reluctant to draw attention to them and will exercise restraint in doing so going forward. I do not want to broadcast, in any way, the message they attempt to send or empower those behind them. Despite the irrational, destructive hatred that persists in our society and world, we do not accept this anywhere at this University. No one among us should feel marginalized or threatened by words of hatred. We are one community; and as one community, we will overcome these hateful acts and hold each other to the highest standards of respect for the dignity and diversity of every individual.

In response to questions students have raised, I also want to reassure you that we have utmost confidence in our Public Safety officials and in the NYPD. Not only do they have well established communications protocols in place when there is an immediate threat of harm; they distinguish crimes that threaten our physical safety from incidents like the one that occurred today.

Sincerely,

Lee C. Bollinger

Statement on Incident at Teachers College

President Lee C. Bollinger issued the following statement to the Columbia
community on October 10, 2007, in response to a hate crime incident at Teachers College.
To see statements from Teachers College President Susan Fuhrman and
Professor Madonna Constantine, go to the Teachers College Web site.

Dear fellow member of the Columbia community:

As most of you now know, a terrible incident of bias occurred at Teachers College yesterday, directed at a member of the faculty. Teachers College is a cherished affiliate of Columbia University with its own president, Susan Fuhrman, to whom I have offered our support and assistance. We may be two independent institutions, but we are one community; and we stand together in our commitment to oppose the frightening sentiments that lay behind this act.

Tolerance and mutual respect are among the core values of our diverse community, and all of us must confront acts of hate whenever they occur within it. As I said last night, an attack on the dignity of any member of our community is an assault on all of us.

I will be meeting with student leaders this afternoon, and other members of the administration will be communicating with faculty and students in the coming days. Our mission as a University includes addressing the most important and searing issues of our time, and we have a particular obligation to respond forcefully to events that affront our values. 

Sincerely,

Lee C. Bollinger