Words have power

A letter to the Wake Forest community from President Nathan Hatch.

Dear members of the Wake Forest community,

I write to inform you of an incident that occurred early Monday morning involving hateful language written on the doors of six fraternity lounges. While Campus Police are continuing their investigation, I  am compelled to address this act of intolerance.

We are a community that values inclusiveness. Words have power. Creating a community where everyone can bring their whole selves to the classroom, the residence hall and the playing field demands that we use language that affirms and respects the inherent dignity of each person on this campus.

Here we value and celebrate diversity in all forms and will not tolerate hateful speech or conduct, whether it is based on race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Writing racist and homophobic statements is an act of ignorance and intimidation. Those who engage in such acts, or who fail to intervene when they occur, perpetuate a climate that at best is hostile and at worst courts violence.

Here at Wake Forest, we must hold each other to the highest standards of decency and respect. I condemn the use of hateful speech and conduct.   While it is a part of our mission as an institution of higher education to foster critical examination and dialogue in the search for meaning and truth, hateful speech and conduct that attempts to encourage discrimination and intimidation will not be tolerated.  We must work together to create an inclusive environment that honors and respects each member of the Wake Forest family.

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Nathan O. Hatch
President