I write to address what I consider a serious issue we face as a campus. I believe that our College has a serious problem of bullying that we must overcome to ensure a civil campus climate and the success of our students. This problem is evidenced by both the Campus Climate Survey done by Rankin and Associates a few years ago and the recent COACHE survey which described bullying, especially faculty on faculty and staff on staff, as a major issue facing the campus.

First, I have asked that the Provost expand the charge of the group reviewing the recent COACHE survey to also review the results of the Rankin Survey and to look for themes and to pay particular attention to descriptions of bullying and uncivil behavior. I will be looking for this group to make recommendations that they believe will help.

These surveys also speak to challenges in recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups and of gender equity issues. An uncivil climate that tolerates bullying will not help in these important initiatives and is a poor way for us to model behavior for our students.

Secondly, as the President, I must lead by example and I intend to do everything in my power to put an end to the destructive bullying climate on campus. For my own part, I will speak out against what I see as bullying and will not participate in any meeting where an uncivil atmosphere exists. I urge anyone on campus experiencing uncivil behavior to speak up and to take a stand against it. If you are uncomfortable speaking up publicly please know that the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Diversity and Compliance will always talk to you on a confidential basis. There are also buttons on our homepage to report incidents that make you feel uncomfortable and you can remain anonymous if you choose.

Thank you, and together we can make CSI a pleasant place to work, a place where we can understand each other’s perspectives, and can have civil serious discussions about difficult topics.

By William J. Fritz