Humboldt State University

October 24, 2016

Apology and a Shared Commitment
for an Inclusive Campus

Dear HSU community,

I am writing to offer my heartfelt apology to the students, staff, and faculty who were hurt by my recent message to the campus about standing together for an inclusive community. In that letter, I used the word “norm” to describe “a standard of accepted behavior” and to reiterate that racism in any form is intolerable and unacceptable, but I now understand that in the context of ongoing racism the word created other offensive and hurtful meanings. I also realize that your concern is about more than words. For creating harm, I am deeply sorry.

I recognize that many members of the HSU community experience racism, both overtly and subtly through microaggressions, nearly every day. Many of you have taken the time to write to me and talk with me about your experiences; I value your insights and share your concerns. I am committed to working with all of you to eliminate the barriers to creating a truly inclusive campus.

Much work is needed to create deep and enduring change. The upcoming Campus Dialogue on Race (October 31 – November 4) will be an important opportunity to consider how we can move forward together. These dialogues will serve as a springboard for additional action as we focus on the individual and institutional transformations needed to make clear that the lives and experiences of people of color really matter at HSU.

Sincerely yours,

Lisa A. Rossbacher, Ph.D.

Humboldt State University