It is no secret that Barack Obama’s election as the first African American president in U.S. history has vast implications for us as individuals and as a society. For this reason, the Expect Respect Student Steering Committee encourages students to take some time to reflect on their own personal beliefs while respecting others. Reflecting on what is important to you in the present and in the future is a way to build energy for social change.

But it is also important to remember that while we pause to celebrate this historic event, other events are going on around the world. The violence in the Middle East, the struggling global economy, and the troubling housing and unemployment rates in the U.S. are just a few examples. It is our hope that the University community will be respectful of each other’s political viewpoints and feelings regarding the start of the new presidential term.

It is our individual responsibility to be aware of our own role in promoting a positive and safe campus climate. If you feel that you have been a target of hate or bias, please know that there are confidential resources available to you on campus. Go to and view the “reporting section” of hate/bias incidents. If you are interested in joining the Expect Respect Student Steering Committee or would like us to collaborate an event with you on campus, please email us at

Amber Zarb
The letter-writer is a member of the Expect Respect Student Steering Committee.

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