Today, Mark E. Ojakian, President of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) announced the launch of the “#ihearyou” campaign aimed at encouraging civil discussion and respectful debate among students, faculty and staff across all 17 CSCU campuses. The multi-media campaign will take place primarily through the fall and includes student events, PSAs and public forums.
“One of the primary purposes of higher education is to provide a safe campus climate where ideas and opinions can be expressed freely,” said President Ojakian. “The CSCU community is made up of various races, ages, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, nationalities, physical abilities, and political perspectives. Our role is to encourage vigorous civil debate on the difficult issues facing our society free of fear and personal attacks. We are a system that greatly values academic freedom and freedom of expression but this freedom we hold so dear requires shared responsibility. We should not accept any behavior that belittles or demeans one another.”
President Ojakian continued: “The start of the new academic year comes at a time when we are confronted with countless challenges in our society. Our national dialogue is dominated by divisiveness, therefore, it is incumbent upon us as leaders of our universities and colleges to reaffirm our mission and collective values and protect the safe inclusive learning environment on our campuses.”
Events on campus are organized by students and will take place throughout the fall semester.
The #ihearyou campaign began with a letter addressing faculty and staff and includes a PSA, campus events, social media discussions and a Town Hall with students on Friday, September 30 at Manchester Community College. President Ojakian has also distributed an Open Letter to students and a two-minute video on the subject. The video along with both letters can be found here.