Weber State University Statements

University Statement: Nov. 2, 2019

The university is currently in the process of reviewing this matter.

At the heart of this complex debate are three fundamental values: American higher education’s unwavering commitment to academic freedom, an individual’s right to freedom of expression, and Weber State’s dedication to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment.

As an institution of higher education, Weber State has a responsibility to learn all the details involved. No one benefits from a hastily reached conclusion.

Message to Campus: Nov. 1, 2019

Weber State University President Brad Mortensen sent the following message to WSU students, faculty and staff:

Dear faculty, staff and students, 

Over the past several days, a series of events have unfolded that underscore the challenging times in which we live.

On Oct. 26, a link to a YouTube video was shared on several Weber State University social media channels and other sites. The video in question was created by a current Weber State student, who shared audio excerpts he recorded of the debate coach and students over multiple hours of a pre-semester debate activity. During this exercise, the faculty member and participants explored and critiqued strategies for debating controversial issues and were recorded without their knowledge.

In the ensuing days, this video has been shared on a variety of social media platforms and caused a wide range of responses from audiences that have seen it.

Some have demanded to know why the university has not taken action against the faculty member. 

Others have demanded to know why the university has not taken action against the student who created the video.

Judging from social media posts and comments, audiences on either side of this issue are incensed that the outcome they expect has not already occurred.

As an institution of higher education, we owe it to all members of campus to take a deliberate approach to issues like this and do our best to learn all the details involved.

At the heart of this complex debate are three fundamental values: American higher education’s unwavering commitment to academic freedom, an individual’s right to freedom of expression, and Weber State’s dedication to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment.

These values are not mutually exclusive, but real-world situations can put them at odds.

Regardless of one’s personal views on this subject, no one benefits from a hastily reached conclusion.

Ultimately, if disciplinary action is taken, it is the university’s long-standing policy that it does not publicly share or discuss personnel or student conduct violations.

As a result of this video being shared broadly, some members of our campus community have received emails and voicemail messages that have been construed as discriminatory,  harassing or threatening. 

If you, as a member of our campus community, feel that you have been treated unfairly or been subjected to an experience that caused personal harm, we encourage you to visit the Safe@Weber site, which contains links to a variety of resources to support your personal safety and well-being.

At Weber State we strive for a free and open exchange of ideas that can be conducted in a way that is respectful and inclusive. Along the way, we cannot ignore discussions like the one that has unfolded in recent days. While these situations may present a challenge at the time, in the end, our commitment to our values becomes stronger.

Sincerely,
Brad

University Statement: Oct. 28, 2019

Weber State University issued the following statement in response to media inquiries on Oct. 28. 2019:

Weber State University is aware of the video in question. It appears the audio included in this video was part of a longer discussion from a coach preparing the debate team as they engage in a deliberation of a wide variety of social issues during a season of competition.

Weber State University supports academic freedom and has policies in place to protect both faculty and students from harassment and discrimination as they engage in these conversations. 

This matter in its complete context will be reviewed further by the university to make sure all perspectives are equally and fairly represented

 

 
Contact:

Office of Marketing & Communications
mediarelations@weber.edu

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