Upholding Our Values of Respect, Inclusion, and Community

Department(s):

Office of the President

Dear WPI Community, 
  
Every November brings International Education Month, and WPI celebrates by proudly hanging a sampling of flags from around the world to represent that this university is a chosen place of learning and community for many international students. Having such a diversity of cultures and backgrounds on campus enriches the WPI experience and our capacity to become even more effective problem solvers. What’s more, each flag represents a nation that its people hold dear and visually signals home and belonging to members of our community. 
 
Over the past few days, the Russian flag and the Israeli flag were taken from the Rubin Campus Center, and we observed writing on the Afghan flag. Removing or disrespecting a nation’s flag can be deeply hurtful and upsetting, and the university takes these incidents very seriously. Campus Police are investigating, and Student Affairs, International Student Life, and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education (ODIME) team members are reaching out to student organizations to provide direct support. The university is replacing these flags. 
 
WPI is proud to be a multicultural community made up of individuals of many different nationalities, ethnicities, religions, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, socio-economic backgrounds, military and veteran standings, disability statuses, and other identities. We value respect, inclusion, and community. At this point we don’t have total clarity into the impetus behind the incidents involving the flags. Whatever was behind these recent actions, there is no place for such behavior at WPI. To be very clear, the university strongly condemns hateful behaviors—including antisemitic, Islamophobic, or ethnocentric actions of any kind.  
 
In our efforts to help build a campus culture that combats bias and discrimination, WPI created the Bias Response Program; any community members who experiences or witnesses bias-related incidents are encouraged to report it.   
 
We all have a shared responsibility to uphold our values of respect, inclusion, and community. The university is committed to free speech and peaceful discourse—and this is especially important when viewpoints differ. Thank you for helping to ensure that WPI is a welcoming place where everyone feels included and respected.  
 
Sincerely, 

Grace