*This message contains difficult content that may be disturbing to members of our community*

Dear Members of the USF Community,

On Tuesday, March 30 at 3:12 p.m., the USF Department of Public Safety received a report from students that a noose was hanging from a railing on a fourth floor balcony in Loyola Village. Staff from Student Housing and Residential Education (SHaRE) and Public Safety responded immediately, and removed the noose from the balcony. An investigation has been launched into this very serious matter. As an interim measure, the student who admitted to hanging the noose was immediately removed from university housing. As we learn more about this incident in the course of the investigation, further action may be determined.

As a community, we are hurt and outraged. We want to emphasize how seriously we take this incident. A noose has historically been and continues to be a potent symbol of hate and anti-Black racism in the United States. It was used by white supremacists to lynch Black people. The symbolism of the noose as a form of domestic terror evokes a history of racial hatred, bigotry, and violence. 

USF condemns all acts of racism including artifacts and weapons that express the legacy of hatred, violence, and racism. The placement of a noose on a balcony in Loyola Village, which is part of the university campus, is egregious and not acceptable.  Given the climate of racial violence and assault against Black-identified people in the United States, we stand in solidarity with them in condemning this act and carefully investigating the circumstances and individuals involved.  

A single act of intolerance or hate can erode our sense of community. We must all take responsibility for speaking out against hatred and prejudice and for helping to prevent such occurrences. If you witness or hear about an incident on campus, we encourage you to take action.

We want to remind you of the Bias Education and Resource Team (BERT), composed of staff and faculty who work to gather information about bias incidents and to support those individuals who have witnessed, or themselves been a target of, an act of bias. Reporting to BERT can take place anonymously, and we also encourage those who want personal support in response to their report to include their names so that we might assist them further. BERT aims to provide space for affected individuals and communities to have their voices heard and opportunities for education to mitigate similar occurrences in the future. Your reports and concerns will be addressed promptly.

Any USF student or community member who observes or is a victim of an act of bias, intolerance, or hate can report the incident by filing a report with BERT. You can also contact the Department of Public Safety (24 hours a day, seven days a week) at (415) 422-4201 or the Dean of Students at (415) 422-5330 or via email.  

For students: You are encouraged to review general information on addressing acts of intolerance in the USF Student Code of Conduct.

For all members of the USF community: If you find you need assistance in the wake of this or other incidents, we remind you of the following resources, in addition to BERT:
 

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is available to students if you would like to discuss how you are feeling with a professional therapist. Please call (415) 422-6352 during normal business hours to make an appointment.
  • Students can also contact ProtoCall, our after hours support and consultation line. You can speak live to an on-call counselor by calling (415) 422-6352 and pressing option #2. Counselors are available from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m (PT) Monday through Friday and 24 hours a day on weekends.
  • University Ministry support services are available to all community members and can be reached at (415) 422-4463 or um@usfca.edu.
  • Faculty and staff members can contact CONCERN, the university’s employee assistance program, at (800) 344-4222.


Please join us in standing against injustice and hate, and in supporting all members of our diverse, inclusive, beloved community. It is important that all our students, faculty, and staff experience the unwavering support of the USF community.

Sincerely,

Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.
President

Mary Wardell-Ghirarduzzi
Vice Provost, Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach

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