Dear Members of the George Washington University Community,
We have learned recently from media reports that an advocacy organization has submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The letter makes claims of discrimination and retaliation against unnamed students in a GW course.
In such matters, it is critical to thoroughly examine all information from the individuals involved. We are committed to conducting such a thorough examination through an investigation by a third party. As such, it is not prudent at this time to comment on specific allegations. However, I want to be clear that we reaffirm that the George Washington University strongly condemns antisemitism and hatred, discrimination, and bias in all forms. We remain committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment where all feel safe and free of harassment, hostility or marginalization.
We care deeply about the wellbeing of all members of our community and their experiences inside and outside our classrooms, and we recognize it is critical to provide several avenues for support to those who may be seeking it. The university will continue to provide support to students and faculty who have shared concerns about recent experiences and work with those involved to take appropriate actions to address these concerns. Resources and complaint mechanisms are available through the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement; Division for Student Affairs; Faculty Affairs; and Employee Relations. The university also recognizes and supports academic freedom, and the right of all members of our community to speak out on issues of public concern, understanding that they are not speaking on behalf of the university.
Finally, as I have stated in the past, I want to emphasize that we are all part of a shared community that values diversity, inclusion, and freedom of expression, and these values may at times feel in conflict with each other. In encouraging discourse on difficult topics, we must remember the importance of civility, respect, and empathy. Our community is made stronger by everyone’s unique experiences and backgrounds. We are grateful for our community’s leadership in examining our thinking, understanding, and interactions with one another to lead meaningful and productive discussions that have a positive impact on others.
Mark S. Wrighton