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Published December 07, 2022
Dear Members of the UW Community,
Our world, nation and state have experienced an increase in hateful rhetoric targeting historically underrepresented and vulnerable groups, including the LGBTQIAP2S+ community. UW has not escaped this type of bigotry, and we must take an unequivocal stand against it -- while at the same time expressing and demonstrating support for all members of our university community.
UW has 15,000-plus people who come from over 80 countries, all 50 states and numerous Indigenous nations and tribes. The recent events on campus should cause us all trepidation for the well-being and safety of our students and employees. I and other UW officials attended a moving and heartfelt vigil off campus Monday night where members of the Queer Community Coalition expressed their concerns and fears for their safety, as well as their hopes for our UW community and future. I emphasize that UW stands with each and every student and all identities who are dealing with safety concerns within our community.
On Monday, Governor Gordon issued a message saying, "As the Equality State, Wyoming is not -- and should not be -- a place where bigotry, discrimination and antisemitism are tolerated.”
Following a review of the Dec. 2 incident in the Wyoming Union involving the harassment of a UW student by an individual external to the university, we have determined that these actions violated the university policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment. Given this, the individual’s privileges to reserve a table in the Union have been suspended for one year.
While freedom of expression is cherished on this campus and across this nation, a line was crossed when a student was harassed by name. This is something we will not tolerate on this campus, and this action speaks to that key principle to which we adhere at UW. Even though this sentiment was evident to all of us on Friday, we want to clearly state it now. We do not tolerate harassment of any student or any university community member.
The UW administration will continue to review this and other acts of harassment that have taken place at UW, and further actions may be taken as a result. Our message is clear: UW will not permit targeted harassment of our students and will do what we feel is necessary, within the bounds of policy, law and constitutional rights, to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of the university community.
In closing, next month we welcome our first Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, raising the level of support for diversity in every dimension at UW, with a goal that all of our students, regardless of how they identify, feel welcome and have the ability to succeed at UW. The University of Wyoming is committed to enhancing both principles and actions that support all of our UW students’ ability to thrive. After all, this is how we embody the values of the Equality State.
Ed Seidel, President