With growing racial and political tensions in our nation, distribution of hateful propaganda on college campuses has increased. Unfortunately, Texas State is no different. We have experienced hate and bias incidents, such as racists flyers and social media posts. No mechanism was in place for our university members to report these incidents and for us to address and track them. If left unresolved, bias incidents may create schisms within our community resulting in misunderstandings and hostilities that negatively impact the campus climate.
In consultation with the Council on Inclusive Excellence, the University President, and the President's Cabinet, the Office of Equity and Inclusion implemented Bring It Up Bobcats!, which provides university members the opportunity to report, via an online system, incidents of bias that are not criminal in nature, yet are counter to our inclusive values, and provides reporters the support they may need to address their concerns (e.g., a referral to the Title IX Coordinator or the opportunity to discuss a particular policy). Data collected is used to assess the university climate and to develop strategies to support an inclusive environment.
Protecting the First Amendment was a key consideration while developing Bring It Up Bobcats! We support free speech, as it allows us to highlight the diverse voices and opinions of all university members. Thus, Bring It Up Bobcats! does not: infringe upon freedom of speech or academic freedom, suppress political activity or religious expression (pursuant to university policy), nor implement disciplinary outcomes. (Note: Reports of policy violations or criminal activity are investigated by the appropriate university official.)
Bring it Up Bobcats! has been well received and has allowed university members to engage with a system that supports those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident and who may be feeling marginalized or unheard.
As the President of Texas State University, I want to be very clear about where I stand on the issue of hate, bigotry, and intolerance. I cannot reiterate forcefully enough that I denounce white supremacy and affirm there is no place for bigotry at Texas State. As President, I will do everything in my power to ensure that we reject all manifestations of discrimination, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or political beliefs. Acts of discrimination only make me more determined to engage the entire community in efforts to stand against hatred and intolerance, to promote the unity of our whole community.