The Friday Letter Archive

A collection of the president's weekly messages to the Vandal family


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Friday Letter 2014-09-12

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Dear Friends,

Among the many activities with which we welcome students to the University of Idaho, an event coming up next week stands out as particularly important.

“I Got Your Back” Campus Safety Week begins Monday. This is my first opportunity to attend this annual event, and I look forward to it with interest and a sense of urgency.

The keynote event of this year’s Campus Safety Week is a presentation by Dr. Keith Edwards, the founder of Men Ending Rape, who will challenge Vandal men to actively work toward ending campus rape and encourage all our students, staff and faculty to stand together as we confront this societal issue.

This is a topic of particular importance to me. Last year, I was challenged and inspired by educator Jackson Katz’ TED Talk, which frames violence against women, children and other men as a men’s issue — something all men must address, but particularly those in leadership positions. Katz specifically called out university presidents as people who can set priorities at their institutions and educate the young people they influence.

In a recent Friday Letter I wrote that the university sets the bar high for our students academically. We set it high for them behaviorally as well.

I want every student at the University of Idaho, but especially those who identify themselves as men, to consider and discuss what it means to be a “good man.” Then, I want them to reach for those ideals.

I believe good men must think carefully about their behaviors and the effects they have on those around them. Part of the university experience is learning to exercise values such as integrity, compassion and personal responsibility.

Students also must take responsibility for each other, caring for each other and directing each other to better paths when the need arises. The slogan “I Got Your Back” reminds students that every Vandal is part of a community, and programs like Vandal Green Dot call on all Vandals to make health and safety a community responsibility.

The University of Idaho offers students help in achieving these goals. In recent years, the university has implemented a number of new programs and bolstered ongoing programs to help students place a high value on physical, mental and emotional safety and wellbeing, both for themselves and for others.

Every new student must complete the “Think About It” online safety course and participate in a safety seminar during orientation. All new fraternity and sorority members participate in a Greek-specific safety program. We’ve recently begun offering Mental Health First Aid training, established a suicide prevention program and expanded alcohol education programs. We require Green Dot training for student athletes and other campus leaders so they can serve as role models for their peers.

Campus Safety Week opens the door for every person at the University of Idaho to learn about and engage with the university’s programs and resources that seek to end violence, abuse, and risky behaviors. I encourage all of you who will be on campus next week to take advantage of this opportunity. The Campus Safety Week website is also a great resource for those of you located outside of Moscow — please check it out to learn more.

Chuck Staben portrait


Chuck Staben
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