United As One Radford Family

Nov. 10, 2016

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I write to you at a time in our history when many are left wondering about the character and strength of our nation. Without question, the events of this past week have provided all of us with an opportunity to reflect upon our own choices and collective hope for the future. In this time of transition, we cannot lose sight of what it means to be Americans and live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Additionally, we cannot lose sight of what it means to be a member of the Radford family.

As I stated during my Inaugural Address last month, “I promise to serve Radford University and guide the Radford family by furthering our commitment to civility, unity and respect – the hallmarks of this family!” That promise extends to each and every member of the Radford family.

The Radford University Discrimination Policy is clear: “Radford University is committed to providing an environment that emphasizes the dignity and worth of every member of its community and that is free from harassment and discrimination based on race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, genetic information, against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities, or based on any other status protected by law.” Compliance with this policy is mandatory for every student, faculty and staff member of Radford University. Violations could result in sanctions, expulsion or termination of employment.

Unfortunately, there have been a number of reported instances on our campus and in the community over the course of the past few days in which the Radford family has not been united in its commitment to civility, unity and respect. Such instances will not be tolerated. Instead of engaging in and promoting acts of hatred and intolerance, we will continue to provide a safe and collaborative place for learning and discovery by embracing and respecting our differences and each other’s beliefs. We will find common ground upon which to have meaningful dialogue, to build lasting relationships and to foster a culture of inclusion.

As a campus that embraces freedom of expression, we must do so in an environment that values and demonstrates respect for each other and does not infringe upon the rights of others. I ask that each of you review the Radford University Code of Ethics and renew your pledge to live, learn and work in a respectful Highlander community.

Furthermore, I invite all members of the campus community to join me and fellow members of the administration tomorrow (Friday, November 11, 2016) beginning at 4:00 PM in the Bonnie Auditorium for “United as One Radford Family.” This gathering will provide an opportunity for us to engage in a respectful, campus-wide dialogue about what it means to be a member of a caring community within a democratic society. As Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”

With Highlander Pride,

Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. President