Western Colorado University (Western) Board of Trustees Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Drafted by: BoT, commented and revised by DEI Committee and Student Leaders
On behalf of President Salsbury and the Board of Trustees of Western Colorado University (Western), in partnership with Western’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI) Committee and Campus Student Leaders
Western recognizes that systemic, structural, institutional, and interpersonal forms of racism throughout the history of the United States of America have targeted and discriminated against People of Color, and continue to do so.
Western condemns racially motivated violence.
Western affirms that Black lives matter.
Western actively rejects racism and discrimination in all forms; and affirms higher education leadership that prioritizes the elimination of racist and discriminatory practices across campus.
Western recognizes that the current national events and violence targeted towards the Black Community have continued to emphasize the historic inequities and injustices suffered by People of Color in the United States of America.
Western will actively work to condemn racism, improve the reporting transparency of hate crimes on campus, and build a culture that reinforces these stated values by holding student, faculty, and all staff accountable on every institutional level.
Western will annually commit, allocate, and invest funds and resources to ensure DEI-related efforts, evolving practices, and successful outcomes that support the entire campus.
Western, currently a Predominantly White Institution, commits to increasing the representation of nonwhite/minority individuals among faculty, staff, administrators, students, and guest speakers.
Western recognizes that those privileged to work or study at Western bear special responsibilities to be consistently upheld as we move towards our goal of becoming a campus of Inclusive Excellence, as defined by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U).
Western affirms the principle of learning and educating, through listening.
Western pledges to actively engage our campus and the Gunnison community in dialogue, training, and programs which will enhance: our individual and collective understanding of how racism targets People of Color, as well as other marginalized communities; our understanding of our role in systems that enable discriminatory practices; and the ways in which we can actively work to correct systemic injustices committed against People of Color.
Contact and background information on Western’s DEI may be found here.
Western’s Faculty Senate authored and adopted a statement on diversity and inclusivity, endorsed by the President and Board of Trustees, that may be found here.
Section X.X: Campus Free Expression Policy
- Authority This policy is promulgated by the Board of Trustees of Western Colorado University pursuant to C.R.S. § 23-56-102(1).
- Policy Statement The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States assures that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble …” Western acknowledges the rights of its faculty, staff, students, its constituents (together the “Western Community”), and members of the public to engage in free speech and peaceful assembly. The purpose of this policy is to advise the Western Community and members of the public of the procedures and standards of conduct that must be observed by while availing themselves of the use of university campus and facilities in the exercise of those rights. The primary use of Western’s property and facilities is for activities that are directly related to Western’s’ educational mission and purpose, including teaching, research, preparation of scholarly material, student activities, as well as campus support operations. Consistent with the Constitution and applicable law, Western may impose reasonable and content neutral time, place and manner restrictions on the use of its property and facilities, and restrict or limit use that disrupts or interferes with academic mission, business operations, or regular functions of the University. Western also prohibits unlawful activity that endangers the safety of the campus community or injures University property or facilities. This policy both facilitates free expression and exchange of ideas and protects the University.
- Definitions For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions shall apply:
- Free Expression Activities“Free expression activity or activities” means any lawful verbal or written activity by which individuals may communicate ideas to one another, including all forms of peaceful assembly, protests, speaking verbally, holding signs, circulating petitions, and distributing written materials. Expressive Activities include voter registration activities, but do not include activities that are primarily for Solicitation. Nothing within this policy grants any person the right to engage in expressive activity or conduct that is not protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution or Article II, Section 10 of the Colorado Constitution.
- Literature“Literature” is defined as any written matter, photos and/or artwork that is not predominantly advertising or commercial in nature.
- Solicitation“Solicitation” is defined as approaching another person to communicate a commercial message, including but not limited to communication through the following means: offering information about services or sales; soliciting an email address, phone number or other contact information for commercial purposes; and distributing any sales flier, coupon book, sample, promotional item, coupon, or similar item. Solicitation of charitable donations is considered commercial speech. Solicitation may be regulated by Western to a greater extent than other free expression activities. Western is under no obligation to make any areas or facilities available for solicitation.
- Unprotected Speech“Unprotected speech” means expressive activities that are not protected by Constitution or law such as communicating in a manner that is defamatory, incites violence or unlawful action, constitutes harassment, is obscene, or consists of fighting words or threats of physical harm.
- Sale“Sale” is defined as any transaction that involves the exchange of money for an item.
- Use of University Grounds, Buildings, and Facilities
- Outdoor Areas on Campus For purposes of engaging in free expression activities, Western will provide its students, faculty, staff, other members of the Western Community, and the public access to all public and open outdoor areas on Western’s campus on a non-discriminatory, content-neutral basis, with the understanding that activities held or reserved by the Western Community shall have priority over the activities of other users. Western will not designate any area as a free speech zone or otherwise limit free expression to a predetermined and designated area of campus. Generally accessible outdoor areas on the campuses shall be available to members of the university community for free expression in accordance with campus policies authorized by this section.
- Use of Indoor Facilities by Western Community In addition, Western will provide its enrolled students access to non-academic and publicly accessible indoor facilities that have traditionally been made available to enrolled students for purposes of free expression activities, subject to the limitations set forth in this section and relevant student and faculty policies.
- Use of Facilities by Members of the Public Except for outdoor area use in conjunction with free expression activities, any member of the public or outside organization seeking to use Western’s restricted outdoor campus spaces, indoor facilities, equipment, office, laboratory, or parking space or lots, must register the activity and obtain the approval of the VP for Student Affairs or his/her designee. Additionally, a member of the public or outside organization will be required to enter into the appropriate Facilities Use Agreement or appropriate facility rental agreement with Western specifying the terms and conditions under which the requested campus resources may be utilized.
- Distribution of Literature Distribution of free literature is permitted outside buildings, provided that such distribution does not disrupt or interfere with normal or previously scheduled activities of a particular place or building, and does not impede ingress and egress to and from campus buildings and pedestrian or vehicular traffic on campus walkways, sidewalks, and streets. Unless otherwise provided in this policy, distribution of free literature that is not part of the teaching, research, or other official functions of the University or not otherwise sponsored by the University or any of its academic or administrative departments, divisions or units is not permitted inside any campus building or any enclosed or special purpose area (such as the stadium), or in any campus residential areas, including University residence halls, campus apartment complexes, and other student housing facilities. The publisher, editor, author or distributor of any literature distributed on campus must be clearly identified on the material distributed. The sale of literature is prohibited without University authorization.
- Time, Place, and Manner Restrictions
- Event Amplification. Amplified sound is generally prohibited on campus, but may be permitted for official University and registered student organization events with the prior approval of the VP for Student Affairs or his/her designee. Amplification must take place during the normal office hours 8:00 am -5:00 pm, unless otherwise authorized. Sound levels are not to exceed 80 decibels at any time. Due to the proximity of classrooms, offices, laboratories, and the library, a Facilities Services staff member will monitor the sound level and may require lower sound levels when necessary to avoid undue disruption of others.
- Campus Postings.Postings by members of the general public are limited to designated bulletin boards in common areas. Students, faculty, and staff may also post to these bulletin boards. Obscenity and libelous material are prohibited. No materials posted on designated bulletin boards may be posted more than two weeks. Posted materials that violate these restrictions are subject to immediate removal.Posting on all other bulletin boards and surfaces on campus is limited to Western academic or administrative departments, divisions, or units, or affiliated organizations or groups. All posted materials must clearly identify the sponsoring organization or group. Obscenity and libelous material will not be approved for campus posting. With the exception of internal postings by Western academic or administrative departments, divisions or units, no materials may be posted on campus more than two weeks, unless the VP for Student Affairs expressly permits an extension of this posting period. Failure to meet these requirements will result in immediate removal of the posted material and may subject the sponsoring organization or group to disciplinary action or prosecution.Chalking is allowed only on the horizontal concrete ground (not on steps, paving stones, buildings or walls) and must be at least 15 feet away from any building entrance. To prevent property damage, only washable chalk may be used; no spray chalk, paint, or similar materials may be used on University property. Violators may be charged for the cost of cleanup and/or prosecuted.
- Campus Solicitation. Any activity that competes with an existing campus business (such as the bookstore) or businesses with which Western has entered into an exclusive contract (such as food service and beverage/snack vending services) and the solicitation, sale or vending of credit cards, alcohol, illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia, cigarettes or other tobacco products, and any item, product, or service prohibited by state or federal law are prohibited.
- Other Restrictions. Any event, demonstration, meeting, assembly, or expressive activity, as well as any persons in attendance, must comply with the applicable rules and policies of the University, including applicable law and University policy regarding restrictions on the consumption and service of alcohol. Any act that unreasonably interferes with the rights of others to peaceably assemble or to exercise the right of free speech, disrupts the normal functioning of the University, damages property, or endangers health or safety is specifically prohibited. No person may attempt to, nor actually interfere with, impair or impede the institution’s regularly scheduled classes, events, ceremonies, or normal and essential operations. The University is required by law to provide and maintain reasonable access to, and exit from, any office, classroom, laboratory, or building. This access must not be obstructed at any time. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic cannot be impeded by demonstrations or gatherings. The provision of medical care cannot be impeded by demonstrations or gatherings. The normal operations of the University (classes, scheduled meetings, events, ceremonies, or other educational purposes) must not be interfered with or disrupted.
- Activity Registration
Activity held on Western’s campus must be registered with the University by filling out and submitting an Event Request Form to the VP for Student Affairs, Facilities Director, Director of Business Operations, and Director of Security seven (7) days in advance of the proposed activity if the activity has any of the following characteristics:
- 100 or more people are expected to attend or participate;
- A member of the public seeks access to Western’s indoor facilities for free expression activities;
- A member of the Western Community seeks access to academic or publicly inaccessible indoor facilities that have traditionally not been made available for purposes of free expression activities for such activities;
- Authorized University officials determine that the event is likely to significantly affect campus safety and security, or significantly affect normal University operations, including but not limited to providing usual and customary services to students, faculty and staff, classes and educational activities.
The following information, at minimum, will be required: (1) contact information for the person organizing the activity; (2) nature and type of activity planned; (3) desired date, time, and duration of the activity; (4) estimated number of people expected to participate in the activity; and (5) the type of sound amplification devices, if any, that will be used. This coordination is required so as to prevent disruption of normal University educational activities, coordinate competing requests for the same venue, and avoid endangering the health or safety of persons and damage to property. In exigent circumstances, Western may waive the seven (7) day requirement for advance registration for activities meeting one of the four above characteristics. Such circumstances include where the organizer could not have reasonably anticipated the activity in advance. In such a circumstance, the Event Request Form should be submitted to the VP for Student Affairs, Facilities Director, Director of Business Operations, and Director of Security with the required information and a brief statement regarding the exigent circumstance, and will be reviewed as soon as reasonably practicable.
- Activity Priority Priority to use Western’s campus and facilities for free expression activities will be given as follows:
- Western Community members with an approved Event Request Form.
- Other individuals or groups with an approved Event Request Form.
- Western Students without a registered activity on a first come, first serve basis.
- Other individuals or groups without a registered activity on a first come, first serve basis.
- Objections to Free Expression Activities The University recognizes that individual or groups may be opposed to certain Expressive Activities or speakers. Disagreement with different opinions is acceptable. Sustained or repeated noise made in a manner that substantially interferes with another speaker’s ability to communicate his/her message is not acceptable. Nothing within this policy grants any person the right to materially disrupt previously scheduled or reserved activities or to engage in expressive activity or conduct that is not protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution or Article II, Section 10 of the Colorado Constitution.
- Response to Violations of Policy and Disruptive Activities Violations of this policy may result in removal from Western’s campus, police arrest, and criminal charges. In addition, members of the university community are subject to discipline or consequences based under the applicable student or employment disciplinary policies. No disciplinary action may be taken against a student for expressive activities that are otherwise permitted by this policy based upon the content or viewpoint of the student’s expression or the reaction or opposition by listeners or observers to such expression.
- Freedom of Expression by University Faculty
- When engaged in teaching and research, faculty enjoy the associated rights and observe the associated responsibilities of academic freedom. Western can engage in content-based evaluation of faculty who are operating within the professional educational context, as long as this evaluation is based on professional standards or peer assessments of the quality of scholarship or teaching.
- University faculty are members of our Community and members of a learned profession. When university faculty speak or write as citizens, not in furtherance of their university duties or in the course and scope of their university employment, on matters of political, academic, artistic, or social concern, the university shall not censor their expression, initiate disciplinary action against them, or otherwise subject the faculty members to adverse employment actions because it disapproves of the substance of their expression.
- When university faculty speak or write in their personal capacities, not in furtherance of their university duties or in the course and scope of their university employment, they must make every effort to indicate that their expression is their own and does not represent the opinion or position of the university.
- The freedom of expression recognized in this section does not grant university faculty the right to refuse to perform official duties, to materially disrupt the university environment or university activities, or to disregard applicable standards of ethical conduct, including but not limited to those expressed in Western’s Handbook for Professional Personnel and Trustee Policy Manual.
- Freedom of Expression by University Staff
- All staff of the university are members of our Community. When staff of the university speak or write in their personal capacities, not in furtherance of their university duties or in the course and scope of their university employment, on matters of political, academic, artistic, or social concern, the university shall not censor their expression, initiate disciplinary action against them, or otherwise subject the staff members to adverse employment actions because it disapproves of the substance of their expression.
- When staff of the university speak or write as citizens, they must make every effort to indicate that their expression is their own and does not represent the opinion or position of the university.
- The freedom of expression recognized in this section does not grant staff of the university the right to refuse to perform official duties, to materially disrupt the university environment or university activities, or to disregard applicable standards of ethical conduct, including but not limited to those expressed in Western’s Handbook for Professional Personnel and Trustee Policy Manual.
- Freedom of Expression by University Students
- When engaged in educational activities, university students enjoy the associated rights and observe the associated responsibilities of academic freedom.
- University students are members of our Community. When university students speak or write in their personal capacities on matters of political, academic, artistic, or social concern, not in furtherance of their studies or in the course of their academic duties, the university shall not censor their expression, initiate disciplinary action against them, or otherwise subject the students to adverse academic actions because it disapproves of the substance of their expression.
- The freedom of expression recognized in this section does not grant Western students the right to materially disrupt the university environment or university activities or to disregard applicable standards of conduct, including but not limited to those expressed in Western’s approved Student Handbook and Trustee Policy Manual.
With the Rocky Mountains serving as our laboratory, Western Colorado University is a unique, public institution. As a premier provider of rigorous, immersive education, Western champions intellectual exploration, critical thinking, and integrity, while inspiring innovation. Western offers an inclusive and personalized academic experience that enhances the lives of our students and their communities now and in the future.
Mountaineers are adventurous and entrepreneurial spirits who embrace change to better ourselves and the people we serve. We boldly act on our convictions.
Mountaineers believe that rigorous academic inquiry and civil dialogue are necessary for free and open critical thinking that defines our role as a public institution in a democratic society. We foster new ideas by developing both emotional maturity and intellectual curiosity.
Mountaineers nurture a welcoming community for all faculty, students, staff, and other stakeholders. We are committed to an inclusive, diverse, and equitable campus environment.
Mountaineers are committed to acting with the highest ethics, respect for the dignity of others, and personal authenticity. We communicate with openness, honesty and civility, and we are accountable for our actions.
Mountaineers are environmental, intellectual, social, and fiscal stewards of our campus and our global community as places of engagement and personal responsibility.
May 20, 2021
Chisholm to take the reins in coming days
Western Colorado University Board of Trustees are pleased to announce the appointment of former Western Board of Trustee Nancy Chisholm as interim president of the institution. The decision follows the announcement by current President Greg Salsbury of his impending retirement.
In addition, it was announced that a committee consisting of trustees, faculty, staff, students, and community members will be formed to conduct a national search to fill the permanent position of university president. The committee is expected to be in place shortly, with the search estimated to take approximately four months. The committee will make its recommendation to the Board of Trustees with a possible permanent appointment in November.
To ensure a smooth transition, Chisholm will work with the president to continue promoting the goals of Western and support its mission. That mission is to promote intellectual maturity and personal growth in its students and prepare them to assume constructive roles in local, national and global communities. In the unanimous vote, trustees offered supportive comments regarding why Chisholm was well-equipped for the job.
Chisholm graduated from Western with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration in 1990. She is a senior global business leader with over 25 years of experience as an executive with Fortune 500 companies. Her broad leadership background includes General Management, as well as senior functional and operational leadership roles both domestically and internationally. Most recently she was President of Tyco Retail Solutions, a $1.3 billion business unit focused on technologies that serve the retail sector in over 70 countries. Previously she served as Vice President of Global Human Resources for Tyco’s $9 billion Security Solutions division. During her time as a Trustee at Western, Chisholm developed a passion for higher education and is a founding member of the Colorado Trustee Network, an advocacy organization for higher education across the state.
Chisholm was recognized as one of Diversity Magazine’s “50 Women Worth Watching.” She has a passion for mentoring and development for early to mid-career professionals and served as a founding member of Tyco’s “Women’s Growth Network.”
Chisholm has indicated she is not pursuing the permanent position. The details regarding her interim contract have not been finalized.
A statement on behalf of the President and Board of Trustees of Western Colorado University:
May 7, 2021, the President and Board of Trustees of Western Colorado University mutually announce the retirement of President Gregory Salsbury, Ph.D.
During his seven-plus-year tenure, Dr. Salsbury helped secure the second largest private donation in Colorado public postsecondary history and established a partnership between Western and the University of Colorado: The Paul M. Rady School of Computer Science & Engineering. Western’s core liberal arts programming has grown to include STEM offerings, bringing Western to the fore of Colorado universities as a STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics – institution.
In 2019, Dr. Salsbury lobbied for and attained legislation simplifying Western’s name to Western Colorado University. Most recently, Dr. Salsbury stewarded Western through the COVID-19 pandemic; and the University anticipates strong enrollment for the 2021/22 academic year. During his time here, Dr. Salsbury recrafted Western’s recruiting and marketing processes, oversaw the addition of the Outdoor Industry MBA program, and helped kick start Western’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign.
The President’s last day will be June 29, the end of the State’s fiscal year, after which time Dr. Salsbury plans to spend more time with his family, in particular his first grandchild. The Board recognizes Dr. Salsbury’s service to Western and wishes him well.
To ensure that the announcement of his retirement does not overshadow the excitement of the students and their families participating in Commencement this weekend and in support of COVID-19 best practices to limit the number of participants on stage, Dr. Salsbury has delegated his Master of Ceremonies duties for May 8, to Vice President Bill Niemi.
The Board of Trustees will announce Western’s interim president as well as provide information about the University’s search for a new chief executive officer in the coming days.
Western Colorado University Board of Trustees (BOT)
Statement on April 2021 BOT Listening Sessions
April 27, 2021
Western Colorado University Board of Trustees recently concluded a series of listening sessions designed to define the University’s strengths, challenges, opportunities, and threats. The objective of the Listening Sessions was to listen and learn from the various constituents so that Trustees understand perspectives, build relationships, strengthen trust, and can better govern to build a stronger Western where students and employees thrive. We are grateful to all those who offered their perspectives regarding Western’s leadership and its future, we will continue to seek out constructive involvement from others, and we now give thoughtful consideration to all inputs made during this time. Our goal is to see Western flourish as we address complex issues, leverage opportunities, and overcome looming challenges that not only threaten our University, but higher education overall.
In the quest for input from the Western Community, we hear words of encouragement and thanks, as well as areas for growth and a few allegations that merit immediate investigation. Rest-assured that these latter statements were of the utmost concern and have been prioritized for immediate action. While the University is constrained from commenting publicly on these matters based on privacy laws, the Board of Trustees is committed to dealing rapidly and appropriately with any and all misconduct. A lack of further public comment about specific allegations does not equate with a lack of response by the University. The Board and the University must and shall thoroughly investigate allegations within its jurisdiction. We must safeguard those who attend and those who serve Western.
These listening sessions are intended to provide an additional point of reference for the Trustees. Inputs to the Trustees are always welcome at https://western.edu/about/leadership/board-of-trustees/contact-board-of-trustees/ or you can always join us at our public meetings.
The Trustees ask for your patience as we determine the best path forward based on all information we received. We are hopeful that through shared governance, greater communication, and mindful action, Western Colorado University will be the better for its courage to look within, face our challenges, address our weaknesses, build on our strengths, and embrace our opportunities. We thank all those who participated in this introspective effort, and we look forward to partnering with all who wish to see Western thrive.
The Board of Trustees Action Plan includes assuring that all members of the Western Community are aware of communications resources:
- Grievances against employees may be reported to Human Resources Director Kim Gailey at KGailey@western.edu or (970) 943-3142.
- Allegations of sex discrimination and harassment may be reported to the University’s Title IX Office Coordinator at SSchuppe@western.edu; other general student concerns can be directed to the Dean of Students office and Ms. Schuppe.
- Students seeking a personalized accommodation may request the same through the University’s Disability Services Office, Cheyenne Terry, at CTerry@western.edu.
- Inputs to the Board of Trustees are always welcome at https://western.edu/about/leadership/board-of-trustees/contact-board-of-trustees/
- Those seeking access to public records should contact Laurel Becker at LBecker@western.edu.
Statement from the Board of Trustees:
The Board of Trustees of Western Colorado University is the governing body of the university. One of the board’s duties is to hire, fire, and supervise the president, the chief executive officer of the university.
On March 9, 2021, the Board of Trustees received the results of a faculty referendum for new leadership. The board also recognizes many additional comments, both supporting and opposing new leadership, that it has received from students, donors, parents, alumni, and others in the Western community.
Given all the factors involved, we support the president and look forward to fostering unity through transparency and accountability, bringing together the best efforts of the board, the president, faculty, students, and the entire Western community, to lead Western successfully into the future.
Demonstrating our commitment to the concept of shared governance of Western, the Board of Trustees assures the faculty and the Western community that we:
- Acknowledge the referendum and voting results which highlight faculty concerns.
- Stipulate that building trust in the Western community must be prioritized.
- Affirm our commitment to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusivity at Western as set forth in our Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
- Agree that “Western’s success, economic viability, and ability to recruit and retain students is inextricable from our commitment to diversity, as well as our moral values and leadership.”
- Expect the President, through his leadership, to unite the broader Western community, to achieve a commitment to mutual respect, collaboration, and student outcomes.
President Salsbury and his team have led Western with commendable success in recognizing the competitive challenges facing Western, as a small, rural public university, including notable achievements in major gift solicitation, representing our institution to our peers and state government, increasing enrollment, increasing diversity, creating the partnership with the University of Colorado, and leading the Western community through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The trustees agree that building trust in the Western community must be prioritized. The board has adopted appropriate guidance for the president and faculty. To bring together the best efforts of the board, the president, faculty, students, and the entire Western community, the board has adopted an Action Plan that will: (1) Improve trustee communications and outreach; (2) Discern and proclaim the core values of Western; (3) Improve administrative communications; and (4) Strengthen the commitment of Western to shared governance.
The board encourages the entire Western community to review our Action Plan, and to participate wholeheartedly in its implementation.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Internationalization committee’s statement on anti-Asian discrimination as endorsed by the Board of Trustees on March 25:
“We are deeply saddened by the recent rise of anti-Asian discrimination and violence in the United States, including the thousands of anti-Asian hate crimes since the COVID-19 pandemic began and now with the recent murder of eight people, six of whom were Asian women, in Atlanta, GA on March 17, 2021.
“The DEII Committee promotes justice that decries all forms of racism, discrimination, and violence against minorities, including racism that targets Asians and Asian Americans. We believe everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without fear and regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or citizenship status. E pluribus unum, – out of many, one – is the foundation of diversity in America and is the foundation of our work as a committee. During this time of grief, we condemn these acts of violence against our fellow Americans while extending our condolences and standing in solidarity with our fellow Asian Americans.
“Race and gender identities were the primary attributes that caused the Atlanta terrorist to target his specific victims. We would like to remind everyone in our community that this kind of targeting is supported by casual, often unintentional racism and misogyny in the forms of uncorrected comments and verbalized assumptions. If you are concerned about such behaviors in our own community (either your own behaviors or those of others), please feel free to use your DEII committee for support and education. You can reach us at email@example.com.”
One Western, Many Voices
On January 6, 2021, our Nation weathered an unprecedented attack on one of our most sacrosanct democratic principles – the peaceful transition of power – when the United States Capitol was violently breached by people seeking to interrupt Congress from its constitutionally required counting of electoral votes.
Our Country has not witnessed such an assault in more than 200 years. We all watched the events unfold, as One Nation. The loss of life during and after the breach of the Capitol was tragic. The response by the brave members of law enforcement, including the U.S. Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police of DC, and the National Guard, who acted to quell the violence was commendable. Our democratic institutions held and they endured. Now, as our Nation and the courts seek justice, we must find a way to help our democratic institutions thrive and help all Americans heal. As an institution of higher learning, Western has a role to play in that healing and to do so we must look to our shared values.
In his statement on January 7, 2021, University President Greg Salsbury condemned the violence at the United States Capitol and denounced it as a ‘despicable’ affront to our democracy and an interruption of the peaceful transfer of power. The President also affirmed Western’s support for free expression, including peaceful protest, as codified in our Free Expression Policy.
In another statement, Western’s Executive Cabinet, on January 8, denounced the attempted insurrection and expressed our collective outrage against the erosion of democratic ideals. The Cabinet affirmed Western’s support for diversity, equity, and inclusivity, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, orientation, religious preference, or political affiliation, as codified in our DEII Statement, and through the vital work of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Internationalization Committee.
Western’s esteemed faculty, staff, and students have added their important voices to deplore the horrific events of January 6, 2021. In myriad ways, over the past several weeks – including through correspondence to the Board of Trustees – the faculty, staff, students, and Western community members have further affirmed and called for discourse about Western’s values. Most recently, the Student Government Association called for improved communications with students and increased commitment to Shared Governance.
The Board of Trustees of Western Colorado University now adds its voice to fully and unreservedly denounce the attempted insurrection against our Federal government. The Board of Trustees condemn all violence in the strongest terms. We do not equate peaceful racial justice protests with the attempted insurrection.
Like the Executive Cabinet we are outraged at the disconnect between our democratic republic’s highest ideals and the events of January 6. And like our honorable and engaged faculty, staff, and students we look to our shared principles to lead us through this moment as “One Western, Many Voices.” We thank those who have shared their view with the Board of Trustees. We encourage the Campus to participate in constructive conversations, with open minds, civility, and respect, around discernment of Western’s core values, strengthening of Shared Governance, and other actions to live true to our values including improved communications. We ultimately seek healing, for our Campus, our State, and our Nation.