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President's Message on Vandalism at the Mary Lou Williams Center

Dear Colleagues,

Earlier today, someone scrawled a heinous racial epithet on a sign at the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture in the Flowers Building on West Campus.

Such a cowardly and hateful act has absolutely no place in our community. While we can’t undo or unsee this painful assault on our right to live and study in a civil and respectful environment, we can and do promise that odious acts like this will be acknowledged and challenged at every opportunity, especially at a time when some seek deliberately to provoke hatred and distrust.

I regret that my early words to you in this new semester are marked with sadness and anger.  Let us use this moment to come together in support of our fellow students, faculty or staff who are so maligned; let us not allow provocateurs to sow among us discord or malice; let us reaffirm and act upon our commitments to inclusion, tolerance and respect.  That is the Duke community we deserve and demand.

Vincent E. Price