20th Annual Diversity Symposium

VPD Statement: Diversity Symposium Keynote

Revised 10/19/20 at 9:40am

On Thursday, October 15, the Office of the Vice President for Diversity was alerted to concerns regarding 2020 Diversity Symposium keynote speaker Dr. Melina Abdullah. The VPD recognizes the deep harm that this situation has caused members of our community, and we sincerely apologize. We appreciate the messages from our colleagues who expressed their concerns and the trust they showed in us while we responded to the situation. 

The VPD remains committed to hearing from Dr. Abdullah in her keynote this week, affirming her powerful message about anti-blackness in America.  We also condemn anti-Semitism and recognize the deep harm that the rise in this rhetoric, and the violence that emerges from it, has caused for our Jewish community here at CSU, in Fort Collins, and around the country. The VPD also recognizes that the Nation of Islam is a hate group that does not represent, in any way, the values of the separate religion of Islam. There is a deeply rooted and complicated history involving the Nation of Islam and its impacts on relationships between the Black and Jewish communities, as well many additional BIPOC communities. Recognizing this, the VPD is committed to bringing our community together in engaged dialogue and identifying action steps for greater collaboration in our fight against both racism and anti-Semitism.

We continue to strive to be allies to our Muslim, LGBTQ+, Black, and Jewish community members. Dr. Abdullah ‘s body of scholarship and work as an academic and researcher confirms her support as well.

To that end, we affirm for all of our community that the Diversity Symposium is meant to uplift and connect our community around topics of inclusion and justice. We sincerely apologize for the negative impact this has had, especially in this challenging year.  We also look forward to engaging with all of you this week and coming away strengthened to continue to work together going forward.