October 12, 2007
Statement from GW President Steven Knapp regarding Monday's flier incident
President Steven Knapp today sent the following message to students,
faculty and staff of The George Washington University:
First, I want to thank our students for the manner in which they have conducted themselves over the course of this challenging week. In response to a controversy we did not seek, our campus has come together in deploring expressions of hatred and reaffirming our principles of civility and mutual respect. On Wednesday evening, over 300 members of the Muslim and Jewish student associations gathered together to celebrate our 6th annual GW Community Iftar. Once again, this event eloquently articulated our university's commitment to global cultural understanding. It was indicative of the spirit of community that has so impressed me since my arrival on campus two months ago.
Regarding Monday's incident in which offensive fliers turned up on our Foggy Bottom campus, allow me to make clear that my position has not changed. I have issued no statement regarding penalties and have no plans to intervene in the Student Judicial Services process.
In my statement issued Monday, October 8, I indicated that the university did not know who was responsible for creating and distributing the fliers. The GW chapter of the Young America's Foundation (YAF), which was listed on the flier, disavowed any connection to it immediately, and subsequent investigation by the university confirmed that the YAF was not involved. Several students not affiliated with the YAF later came forward to acknowledge having posted the fliers.
The university has policies in place governing student conduct. Any violations of university policies that occurred in connection with the incident will be handled through the Student Judicial Services process, without regard to the political views or affiliations of anyone found to be involved. I can assure you that this process will be conducted in a fair and thorough manner.
What I also said on Monday, and will repeat now, is that there is no place for expressions of hatred on our campus. I remain confident that the sentiments expressed on the fliers do not represent the attitudes of our students. I trust that all our student body, no matter what opinions they hold, will continue to conduct themselves in the spirit of mutual respect that has long been a hallmark of this university.
CONTACT: Tracy Schario