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Media Memo: Thomas Hilton/Dylan Jambrek joint statement

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Mike Rindo, executive director, university communications

DATE: Oct. 25, 2010

SUBJECT: Thomas Hilton/Dylan Jambrek joint statement

The following joint statement from Dr. Thomas Hilton, information systems department chair at UW-Eau Claire, and Dylan Jambrek, UW-Eau Claire student body president, was received today by Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich and shared with university faculty, staff and students.

JOINT STATEMENT ON EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSIVENESS

Recent events surrounding an e-mail response by Dr. Hilton to an e-mail message from the student director of the Eau Queer Film Festival have taught us much. In the spirit of learning so important to UW-Eau Claire, we share this joint statement with hope that the entire campus community will benefit from our hard experience.

Dr. Hilton deeply regrets the offence and controversy that began with his rash and hurtful words. He offers sincere apologies, particularly to UW-Eau Claire colleagues and students, both LGBTQ and straight, and most especially to the student who received his original e-mail response.

President Jambrek acknowledges that his letter to Dr. Hilton was his own and that, while reflecting some students' concerns, was not the sentiment of the entire student government. He apologizes for any confusion on that matter and for the personal tone of the letter. To be clear, President Jambrek is neither pursuing nor recommending any administrative actions against Dr. Hilton.

We each occupy a position of authority within the University community and therefore have a special obligation to distinguish when we are speaking in those positions from when we are expressing our personal beliefs. We have learned that blurring this line can give our words unwarranted weight and cause unintended harm. We regret our mistakes, and jointly commit to be more careful in the future.

We have learned again and anew how crucial it is that UW-Eau Claire stand in support of fruitful dialogue no matter how fundamentally we disagree. We jointly reaffirm the right of all to express their beliefs, and we jointly reaffirm our commitment to rational, respectful discussion of all viewpoints so that we can continue to foster in one another the hallmarks of transformative liberal education.

Thomas Hilton                                   Dylan Jambrek
Information Systems Chair                 Student Body President

For more information, contact Mike Rindo, executive director of university communications, at 715-836-4742 or rindomj@uwec.edu; Thomas Hilton, information systems department chair, at 715-836-3416 or hiltonts@uwec.edu; or Dylan Jambrek, student body president, at 715-836-4048 or jambredt@uwec.edu.

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