Message from Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Nance

December 5, 2013

Vice President for Student Affairs Nance emailed the following statement to his division employees:

Dear Student Affairs Colleagues,

Over the past two weeks, our campus community has struggled to understand the deplorable events that occurred in a Campus Village residence hall during the Fall 2013 semester.  These events resulted in the Santa Clara County District Attorney filing widely reported criminal charges with hate enhancements against four SJSU students.  Within the university, the students have been Interim Suspended, pending the outcome of the on-going Student Conduct process.

As you may have seen in my initial public statements or news reports, I was shocked, angered, and distraught by the gravity of the situation – emotions that are widespread across campus.  Our leadership team in Student Affairs strongly shares these sentiments, as the reported actions do not reflect SJSU’s shared values of learning, student success, excellence, integrity, diversity and community.  SJSU should and must be a place of learning and mutual respect, as well as a safe environment for all our students.  Such behavior must not be permitted at SJSU, nor should it ever occur against any person in any community. 

Now, for many of us, after much further reflection, shock and anger have been joined by a sense of disappointment and sadness in wondering how such actions might occur among the very students we strive so hard to help grow, develop, and succeed – not just as students, but as people.  That we care so much, as Student Affairs professionals, about what we do for student well-being, makes it even more troubling to understand these types of circumstances.  Through continuing investigations, independent fact-finding, and a variety of short and long-term actions, we will eventually learn much more about what happened and how it came to occur in our community.  But it is also likely to take some time to obtain answers to those and many other questions.

Moving forward, we all have much work to do.  We have already begun providing opportunities for our students to share their feelings, beliefs, and suggestions.  Working in close coordination with our students, we can and will do much more. Whether it is through one-on-one conversations or formal campus dialogues, programmed events or ad hoc discussion groups, we can listen to what our students have to say.  More importantly, we can hear what they say in order to take actions that can make a difference. 

We need to pull together as a community –students, staff, faculty and administrators– to create a campus environment of respect, social justice, and civility that seeks to prevent such an incident from ever happening again.  If you have questions or suggestions for us, please work with your supervisor to discuss with your Director or AVP.  If you ever see a situation that appears harmful to another person, please step forward and report it immediately to the University Police Department (UPD).  To remain anonymous, call or text Tip Now.  Many additional resources regarding campus safety are available through sources including UPDSpartans for Safety, and the Crisis Assessment Intervention Team (CAIT) websites. 

The Student Affairs Leadership Team and I remain committed to upholding the values of SJSU and the Division of Student Affairs.  Please continue to support our students and one another as we work through this difficult time.  I sincerely thank you for your dedication to our students and one another. 

Bill Nance
VP for Student Affairs