The following message is from John Cavanaugh, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and is fully endorsed by David Werner, IUP interim president.
Among the most important roles of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the creation of a welcoming culture of inclusion on our campuses. Harassment of any kind—whether face to face or online—cannot be tolerated.
The recent suicide of a Rutgers University student, the cyberattacks on the student government president at the University of Michigan, and other tragic incidents that have occurred on college campuses have brought national attention to the issue of cyberbullying. We need no stronger reminders of how dangerous this practice can be and the terrible effects it has on victims.
All of us must commit ourselves to addressing this very serious issue and eliminate harassment in all its forms. Many of our universities have hosted programs that can serve as examples for us all. Millersville University earlier this year hosted the Pennsylvania Cybersafe Conference, inviting both their collegiate colleagues as well as K-12 officials to participate in the program, which featured national experts as speakers and session leaders. On October 14, Lock Haven University will present a two-hour program titled, “Yes, We Care,” to let anyone in the campus community who might feel unsafe, bullied, or threatened know where he or she can go to seek help. Several of our campuses include “Safe Zones” that provide both resources and personal assistance. We encourage you to learn about the programs offered on your campus.
These and other similar efforts are to be commended. They should be the standard. My office stands ready to assist PASSHE universities in helping them ensure a safe living, learning, and working environment for our students, faculty, and staff.