Pace announces “Not On Our Watch” to intensify anti-hatred values

Pace University President David A. Caputo today announced a new initiative, “Not On Our Watch,” to intensify the University’s extensive efforts to combat intolerance and hatred and promote understanding and acceptance of diverse groups.

Contact: Christopher Cory, Executive Director of Public Information
917-608-8164 (cell), ccory@pace.edu (email via blackberry)

Pace University statement announcing
“Not on Our Watch” anti-hate campaign

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pace University President David A. Caputo today announced a new initiative, “Not On Our Watch,” to intensify the University’s extensive efforts to combat intolerance and hatred and promote understanding and acceptance of diverse groups. He said:

“Since several recent hate crime incidents, Pace University has aggressively reached out to our many student organizations and campus councils that are concerned with promoting acceptance and combating intolerance. All of them are responding with deep concern and constructive suggestions.

“We also have contacted outside organizations, and I welcome the offers of cooperation we have received from the New York office of the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Anti Defamation League, and the US Department of Justice.

“The hateful acts against our community are rare in the history of this university, but they are intolerable acts against individuals and groups of individuals who are valued, respected and welcome members of our university community, and they are attacks against the very foundation of the University itself.

“I have asked all faculty and staff members and students to unequivocally condemn these actions and reach out to all members of our community with understanding, acceptance and compassion.

“I also announced a fresh anti-hate effort, building on our long tradition of campus activities against intolerance and for understanding and acceptance. This is being led by our Affirmative Action Officer, Lisa Miles JD. Since Monday this team has requested or held consultations and meetings with
• The New York office of the Council on American Islamic Relations
• the Anti Defamation League
• the US Department of Justice
• The Pace University President’s Commission on Diversity
• Pace Faculty Councils Downtown and in Westchester
• Administrative Councils (staff councils) Downtown and in Westchester
• Student clubs concerned with multiculturalism, gender and sexual orientation
• Separate meeting with Muslim Students Association
• Meeting of Downtown Campus student government and student club officers (Westchester Campus leaders meeting scheduled for Friday, 10/20)
• Pace Coalition for Diversity (15-year old Downtown Campus group)
• Pace Westchester Diversity Team (Westchester equivalent of Coalition for Diversity)

“Not on Our Watch”

“Based on the input so far, this team has approved plans for an intensified program to be called ‘Not on Our Watch.’ It includes
• Sensitivity training for students and the President’s Council of senior university administrators (planning and execution will involve CAIR, the Pace Muslim Students Association and many other the diversity groups on our campuses)
• First-responder training on proper protocols for incidents of bias by the Regional Director of Community Relations Services for the US Department of Justice (Reinaldo Rivera) for security officers and a broader team that will respond to bias incidents.
• Public forums on our New York City and Westchester campuses with panelists, Q&A, and open mikes, probably during week of Nov 6th.
• Distribution of a wallet card listing phone numbers for the University Safety and Security Department, Deans for Students, Residential Life, Counseling center, Health care center, Affirmative Action Office and Ombuds Office. This responds to input from students who said they weren’t sure who to call in emergencies.

“This was a surprise to us because incidents of intolerance are extremely rare here. But it indicates a set of issues we have to deal with and gives us a moment to act when we have people’s attention. Longer range programming is also being planned. — we are intensifying an ongoing, sustained effort.

“Pace does not pretend intolerance doesn’t exist. We are facing these incidents with the utmost concern, squarely and in public.

“Our tradition is to support students who are affected by intolerance, giving them systems for figuring out what they want to do about it and nurturing them through the process. These range from individual counseling to mentoring student groups to faculty encouragement to study social issues.

“When an internal survey in 2003-2004 asked students to say if they agreed or disagreed with the statement “I feel I need to hide some characteristics of my racial and ethnic culture in order to fit in at Pace,” only 11 percent of both undergraduate and graduate students agreed.

“Pace deplores as hateful incidents of bias of whatever kind. Bias is not only an attack on people, but on the fundamental nature of a University and people’s ability to learn from one another.

“While the investigation continues, and afterward, we welcome information and constructive ideas.

“Anyone with information that might be relevant to the investigation of these incidents should call the NYPD Hate Crimes unit

“Suggestions about anti-bias activities should go to Lisa Miles, e-mail lmiles@pace.edu or call 212-346-1310.”

Facts about Pace University anti-bias activities:

Pace is actively involved in the fight against hatred and intolerance, and in promoting understanding and acceptance. Our current efforts build on a long and deep tradition of community service and multicultural awareness programs. These are scheduled year after year by both the University and student groups, and many of this year’s events were scheduled well before these incidents.

In any given year our student organizations are likely to include those formed by students whose backgrounds reflect many ethnicities as well as organizations for women and students who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, InterQueer and Questioning.

During the University’s Centennial in calendar 2006 the Centennial Committee alone presented or co-sponsored Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland/Baltimore County, on attracting minority group members to higher education and science; a two-day symposium on the legacies of slavery and feminism in the works of fugitive slave Harriet Jacobs ( author of “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself”); Maya Angelou; and a multinational colloquium of law professors from 44 first, second and third-world countries on enforcing global environmental laws.

Other current and past programs include forums on Palestine and Zionism, AIDS, American Indians, Hispanic multilingual cartoons, and SAFEZONE training to increase tolerance for different sexual orientations.

Community service is now a required component of the core curriculum.

The University is a founder of Project Pericles, a coalition of colleges explicitly committed to encouraging lifelong engagement by citizens in democratic processes.