President Shoureshi on standing up to hate by supporting inclusion
Author: University Communications
Posted: October 29, 2018

Dear PSU Community,
During the past week, we have been witness to multiple acts of violence and hatred across the United States.  First and foremost, our hearts go out to the families of those who were killed in the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and to the entire congregation of the Tree of Life Synagogue.  Our sympathies as well are with the families of those who were shot in the parking lot of the Kroger in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, shortly after the shooter tried to enter the First Baptist Church and was unable to open the locked doors.  And all of us shared the anxiety generated by pipe bombs being sent through the U.S. Postal Service to individuals who exercised their right to freedom of speech.

In addition, in the past week, we have been troubled by media reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is considering a proposal that would define gender exclusively as either male or female determined by a person's sex at birth.  We at PSU oppose this proposed definition because it targets transgender and non-binary people by denying them recognition and civil rights protections. 

Let us be clear: We condemn acts of hatred and violence such as we have seen this past week. Senseless acts of violence visited upon innocent people and communities are constant reminders of the importance of standing up for the rights of people and groups who call this nation their home. Many of us are feeling the impact of these events, especially for those members of the PSU community who feel that they, too, are targeted by this hatred.

These sobering events of the past few days serve as a reminder of the importance for PSU to publicly and unequivocally reaffirm the values and beliefs we hold as an institution committed to all our students and the families, faiths, friends and communities that are represented in their lives.

A bedrock principle at Portland State University is our commitment to equity and inclusiveness for all students, faculty and staff. Hatred that targets individuals and communities based on their race, religion, or gender identity has no place at any university, and no place at PSU.

To support our community, the university has a wide array of services and resources that support students and employees from all backgrounds, ethnicities, orientations and circumstances.  The Center for Student Health and Counseling is available to students and the Employee Assistance Program is available for employees who might need support during this time.  Please contact Global Diversity and Inclusion if you have concerns about discrimination or related issues.


Rahmat Shoureshi