Special

From Michael Murphy, Dean of Student Affairs

The publication of the April 1 ?Natrat? duly caused considerable outcry on this campus and well beyond. In the wake of publication, there was active and sometimes heated discussion and debate on how such an incident could have happened. Ultimately, the focus was on why, on what it meant for us as a community ? what it said about us a community ? and on the future.
Students, faculty and staff have rarely been as engaged in discussing this community as they were in the days and weeks of April. Few were without an opinion, ranging from those citing the Natrat as an isolated incident not worthy of great concern to those citing it as a profound statement on the gaps in our understanding and the need for all of us to better understand and commit to the highest ideals of our community. It was a painful time, with wounds that linger. It was, perhaps most importantly, a call to look in earnest at ourselves and to rise up to a new level of community.
My love for this University is grounded in many things, chief among them the enormous talent, compassion and integrity of our students. This has been at the core of our growth in the months since April. Many deserve the highest praise for stepping up at a time when it would have been easy to step away ? including our student leaders in government, in key cultural organizations and in student life. Indeed, those students who stepped up to leadership in the Tartan itself, and those who stepped forward to join in the future of the Tartan, should be lauded. Those involved with the Tartan will be the first to accept that they are continuing to prove their mettle to their peers, while certainly their progress over the summer and fall is clear.
Some student organizations, advisory committees, governing councils, and academic and non-academic departments have leveraged this incident to further their exploration and action. Some, but not all. For those who have, aiming to be not just a highly diverse and able community, but a uniquely engaged and respectful one, it is a clear priority. For those who have not, we must continue to share the core messages outlined in the Tartan Commission?s report and to drive the awareness of and commitment to the enormous potential we hold. Together, we are exceptionally talented, hard-charging and uniquely committed to having an impact in this world. An apt description of both the place and the people, it amplifies the need for any boundary, any barrier to that impact, to be battered down in the name of, and by way of, true engagement at all levels.
In the individual departments of student affairs, we have had the opportunity to venture point by point through the Tartan Commission report, notably those core recommendations in Charge 3. By asking what each of us can do to address these issues, in efforts large and small, we have affirmed our commitment in some historic areas and found new ways to move forward. Talking is one thing. Having the resulting action make an impact is the critical dimension against which we must judge as the months ? indeed, years ? unfold. It is an exploration of potential that I would encourage all to undertake, not in bureaucratic fashion, but on a deeply personal level. It can be a major initiative to reshape or reinvigorate. It can be a moment, a gesture, or a turn of phrase. Each of us will walk these halls for only a brief period in the grand scheme, but no day is without its opportunities to make the lives of those around us, and thereby our own, more full of the promise our shared values demand.