The Public Honors College
St. Mary's College of Maryland

Oct. 7, 2010

Dear St. Mary’s Community,
 
We have been distressed over the last few weeks by news of several suicides by members of educational  communities who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning—most recently at Rutgers University. I invite the St. Mary’s College community to use these incidents as catalysts for dialogue and action, and for reaffirmation of shared values.  St. Mary’s College strives toward an ethos of inclusiveness, and we envision our community as a safe space for human expression. However, we take no solace in a misapplied confidence that what has happened elsewhere can’t happen here. Instead, we should be struck by the potential for hateful incidents to persist, even within educational communities.
 
There are several grassroots and systemic efforts happening on our campus already. Later today, you will receive an email over the signature of Meghan Root, Sexual Assault and Wellness Advocate. Meghan’s message originates with a group of students, staff, and faculty who wish to articulate support for all members of our community, and to disavow harassment and bullying. Meghan’s email will provide more information on how you may become involved in these initiatives.
 
In addition, Clinton Neill, Coordinator of Student Activities and Judicial Affairs, is working with George Waggoner, Director of Campus Technology Support Services, and Laura Bayless, Dean of Students, to ensure that our Code of Conduct is written in a way that can hold violators accountable for cyber-bullying and -exploitation. We have no tolerance for hateful action on this campus.
 
The loss of young life is tragic, and my heart goes out to the families and loved ones who must endure a lifetime of absence. My sympathy as well to those who will live with the consequences of thoughtless cruelty. The only solace that comes from such events is that they offer an opportunity for us to reaffirm our ideals of respect and inclusion. Please take a moment today to reflect on the deaths of these young people. I am reminded of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sense of the beloved community, and I ask each of us, in the aftermath of these tragic events, to reaffirm our commitment to the well-being and safety of all at St. Mary’s College.
 
Joseph Urgo
President
St. Mary's College of Maryland

Aerial view of St. Mary's College of Maryland campus

St. Mary's College of Maryland
18952 E. Fisher Rd
St. Mary's City, MD 20686-3001
240-895-2000