This weekend we heard the horrific news of two mass shootings just a few hours apart. One in Dayton, Ohio and one much closer to home in El Paso, Texas, our neighboring city. Many members of our community have close ties to family, friends and acquaintances in the El Paso area and we have already learned of UNM connections to the tragedy. All indications point to the targeting of Hispanic and undocumented people in this act of domestic terrorism. As noted by U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar, "We really don't have to guess. We know. We were targeted because the terrorist wanted to attack a mostly Latino and immigrant community.”
At The University of New Mexico, our preeminence in research, teaching and public engagement would not be possible without the vital intellectual contributions from our Hispanic students, faculty and staff, including DACA recipients and undocumented students. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution, we seek to build a campus culture of inclusion to ensure all members of our community may pursue their educational and professional goals not only free from acts of discrimination and intolerance, but in the full knowledge they are safe, welcomed and embraced. As a public research university, The University of New Mexico remains steadfast in its mission to educate, research and engage, and thereby change the world for the better. Our success rests firmly on the principle of inviting bright minds into our community and supporting their capacity to thrive, and we will vigorously advocate for actions and policies that protect and advance that principle.
As we take time to reflect on this tragedy, we urge our students, staff and faculty to continue to support one another. Additional resources available to our campus can be found at http://campusclimate.unm.edu/resources/index.html for anyone requiring assistance.
I’m deeply sorry that our community is experiencing this and our hearts are with all who have been impacted. Thank you for your efforts to help us create an inclusive and supportive university.
Garnett S. Stokes