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Saturday, December 4, 2021

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Both resources were developed and launched collaboratively with SDSU divisions and departments. Both resources were developed and launched collaboratively with SDSU divisions and departments.
 


Free Speech Site, Inclusive Reporting System Launched

The two web-based resources will provide students with free speech rights information and the entire campus a mechanism to report incidents and excellence related to inclusion.
By SDSU News Team
 

Two web-based resources designed to foster a more inclusive environment at San Diego State University have been launched: a Free Speech site with information and campus resources focused on student free speech rights; and Inclusive SDSU, a new web portal as well as a new communication system. 

Both resources were developed and launched collaboratively with SDSU divisions and departments after a community call — namely from students and faculty — to provide clear and easily accessible information, policies and resources related to free expression and campus activities. 

“We are a community of action. Our students, faculty and staff regularly lead dialogue and action designed to support the free and open exchange of ideas. Both of these resources should be seen as tools supportive of those efforts,” said SDSU Chief Diversity Officer J. Luke Wood, also Associate Vice President of the Division of Diversity and Innovation (DDI). 

The development of the Free Speech site and Inclusive SDSU were both multidisciplinary, collectively involving representatives of DDI, the Division of Student Affairs, Business and Financial Affairs, Faculty Advancement, Associated Students, and other areas of campus.

"The development of these platforms finally gives students much-needed guidance on how to balance the expression of beliefs and opinions and to do so in a way that is both fair and respects privacy,” said Christian Onwuka, president of the Associated Students. “They also give our students 24/7 educational tools to become both culturally competent and global citizens, which is critically needed in our current national climate.” 

The Free Speech site will be updated with more current information and additional resources over time. 

“Free speech is a cornerstone of our democracy, and the free exchange of ideas — with or without disagreement and even when uncomfortable — allows us to be fully present in our experiences,” said Dean of Students Randy Timm, also Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. “Not only is this a fundamental human right, but when we freely express our ideas and contentions, we are able to create opportunities for improved understanding and progress.” 

The new, web-based Inclusive SDSU Communication System will allow all campus community members to report incidents of bias as well as instances that promote an inclusive campus culture. 

The new system will allow the university to recognize patterns of occurrences on our campus that may require coordinated action. Submissions will be reviewed by representatives from across campus, including those in DDI, Student Affairs, the Office of Employee Relations and Compliance, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs (StratComm), among others. 

The system does not, however, replace existing mechanisms for reporting certain types of incidents and emergencies. Behavior believed to be a hate crime, for example, should be formally reported to the University Police by calling 619-594-1991 or emailing policeinvestigations@sdsu.edu

“Inclusive SDSU will also allow the university to document instances of excellence and support that the community may want to celebrate,” Wood said. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to use the system to report meaningful initiatives, programs, projects and other actions that support a nurturing and inclusive campus environment. 

“When we say we value diversity and inclusion, that means we value and honor all members of our university community and that we respect and embrace our differences. Our diversity and our proud acceptance of our diversity is what makes SDSU a unique and powerful university,” Wood also said. 

“Certainly, there is an acknowledgment that our community is working to actualize further improvements in diversity and equity across campus. But it is also moments like this — the creation of new resources and the strong reinforcement of our values — that allows the necessary pause and acknowledgment that we are progressing in a meaningful direction.”