CU leadership statement on safe, welcoming campus environment

Over the past several weeks, Chair of the Board of Regents Irene Griego, President Bruce Benson, and the campus chancellors have met with our students, faculty, staff and governance groups to listen to their concerns, some of which have lingered or heightened since the election. We know from our conversations, which made us aware of your personal experiences, as well as from reports locally and nationally, that some on our campuses feel unsafe, uneasy or fearful.  The rhetoric of the campaign left some worried about their futures.  

At times like this, while recognizing that we live in a vibrant democracy that respects both the outcome of elections and the right to hold passionate and divergent political viewpoints, we turn to CU’s guiding principles. These guiding principles state our collective commitments to the university community and all it serves.  We will honor our commitments, including CU will provide “an outstanding, respectful and responsive living, learning, teaching and working environment.”  All students, faculty and staff must be safe and feel welcome on our campuses.  

When meeting with groups of students and faculty, we consistently heard concerns about possible changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive directive. DACA status allows recipients to lawfully study and work in the United States.  It is important to note that no changes in federal DACA policy have occurred, but we understand that uncertainty has created concern for DACA students and those who study, teach and work with them. 

 As set forth in another guiding principle, CU will “encourage and provide access to the university for all qualified students.” Each of the University of Colorado’s campuses has accepted and welcomed students under both DACA and ASSET, the in-state tuition program available to some undocumented students. These students are and will remain valued members of our community.

We will provide support to our students and faculty, provide ongoing information to our community about any proposed changes to state or federal policies, and continue to provide educational counseling resources to assist students in completing their degrees. We will also comply with state and federal laws, including student and employee privacy laws that prohibit us from disclosing personal information in almost all instances without specific legal authorization. We are committed to ensuring CU remains a place where people of every race, gender, ethnicity and political view are welcomed in the spirit of civility and treated with respect. We also recognize the university is a place where divergent views should get a complete and respectful airing.

As we have noted on many occasions, our diversity is one of our guiding principles and core values. We will continue to foster an environment that honors diversity and inclusion.  We will remain steadfast in our commitment to providing equal access to education and to advancing the ideals of our university.

Sincerely,

Irene Griego, Chair
On behalf of the University of Colorado Board of Regents

Bruce D. Benson, President
Philip DiStefano, Chancellor, University of Colorado Boulder

Pam Shockley-Zalabak, Chancellor, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Dorothy Horrell, Chancellor, University of Colorado Denver

Donald M. Elliman, Jr., Chancellor, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus