Hate, discrimination and violence in all of their forms have no place at UCF.
Recently, we were made aware of a post shared on social media that an anti-Semitic comment was directed toward a Jewish student and no one spoke up for her. As Knights, we should speak up for one another. No member of our community should ever have to experience hate or discrimination on our campuses.
This follows an increase in violent incidents against Asian Americans around the country, in addition to historic, systemic inequities involving minority communities. Sadly, this morning I, like many of you, awoke to the news of more senseless shootings, this time in Atlanta appearing to have targeted members of the Asian community. I regret that any member of our community has been on the receiving end of hate, discrimination or violence, and I understand their pain.
Let me state again that hate, discrimination and violence in any form — including anti-Semitism — have no place at UCF. I encourage you to learn more about how you can take action against anti-Semitism through resources available on the American Jewish Committee or the Anti-Defamation League websites.
As Knights, we must join together in denouncing discrimination. Freedom of speech is an integral part of our society and our campus, but it also is critical that we cultivate an environment where people — regardless of their differences — feel accepted and appreciated. An individual’s right to speak freely should not come at the expense of others, especially those who are most often marginalized or oppressed. Let us be respectful of each other, open our minds and listen to hear and understand others’ points of view, even if they differ from our own.
Each of us brings our uniqueness to UCF. Our diversity and commitment to inclusive excellence are what make UCF such a special place. Knights not only celebrate each other’s differences — we welcome and respect them. We support each other.
I know that so many are committed to doing the right thing and treating one another with compassion, respect and care no matter our differences. I join President Cartwright, Interim Provost Johnson and other members of senior leadership in thanking you for these efforts.
For those who witness or experience incidents of discrimination or violence, please report them to UCF. We are in this together, and we want to know if something on campus does not align with our shared values.
Many of our Jewish students find support through Hillel, Chabad, and Yehudi. I am thankful for these organizations’ outreach and impact on our campus and beyond.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support. Visit UCF Cares, Student Care Services or UCF Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) if you are a student, and the Employee Assistance Program if you are an employee. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and I are also here to support you.
I know that our UCF community has the power to lift each other up and to reaffirm that our culture of inclusive excellence is strong and lasting.
All my best,
S. Kent Butler
Interim Chief Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Officer