The following e-mail was sent out to all GMU students moments ago:
From: Peter Stearns, Provost and Sandy Hubler, VP of University Life
Subject: Respecting Free Speech
Already this fall, a number of students, staff, and faculty have raised concerns and engaged in dialogues related to controversial campus, national, and international issues. As conversations ensue both in and outside of the classroom on issues such as Mason?s quiet meditation space, recent acts of racism at UMD-College Park, and the upcoming Jena 6 trials, we encourage dialogue that fosters critical thinking, positive engagement, and mutual respect. Our challenge as a community as we engage in these dialogues is to stay committed to honoring and encouraging free speech, while at the same time attending to those who may feel that their safety and dignity have been compromised.(Photo added for illustration purposes.)
On our campus, there has been much discussion on the use of the quiet meditation space located in the Johnson Center. The meditation space was established seven years ago in response to those in the university community who wanted a quiet, convenient drop-in location for reflection and prayer. We are currently collecting usage data on the space for further review with the goal of assessing and meeting the needs of our student populations [Ed.:—There's more than one student population at GMU now? Who knew?]. We want to ensure that the space is open to all on campus who wish to use it for quiet meditation. If you have questions or comments about the space, you can email mrrc1-at-gmu.edu.