UA chancellor responds to racial incidents at University of Missouri

Dan Ferritor, interim chancellor at the University of Arkansas, released a statement Tuesday inspired by recent events at the University of Missouri which led to the resignations of Tim Wolfe, UM System President and R. Bowen Lofting, chancellor of the Columbia campus.

The two stepped down this week after escalated pressure from students who have for months criticized the administration’s response to a string of racially charged incidents.

In his statement, Ferritor urged UA students, faculty and staff to “take the lead in publicly condemning unequal treatment of anyone.”

Ferritor, a Missouri native, said the events in Columbia should cause all Americans to look at how they are doing in their fight for equality and respect, and asked the UA community to never stop working to make each student feel respected, regardless of who they are.

Ferritor’s full statement is included below:

Dear University of Arkansas Community Member:

You may be aware of the events occurring on the campus at the University of Missouri as they address the ever-present need to treat every person as an individual worthy of respect. I am sure you will join us in wishing our faculty, student and staff colleagues in Columbia the very best as they struggle with a battle of tolerance, compassion and inclusion that we all know we must fight every day for the betterment of mankind.

The struggles at Missouri should cause all Americans to look at how they are doing in their fight for equality and respect as espoused in our country’s Declaration of Independence. Everyone on the University of Arkansas campus community should also stop to look at where we are, as a campus and as an institution, in recognizing that we can never relent in our fight to make each Razorback feel that he or she is wanted, needed and respected, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic that does not define or limit our humanity. We should do it not because of the difficulties at Missouri, but because it is the right thing to do.

With the Thanksgiving season fast approaching, we hope the university community is thankful for the good things we have. But we must also use this opportunity as a university to take the lead in publicly condemning unequal treatment of anyone.

Sometimes we feel that there is little that we can do as individuals to redress such long standing societal wrongs. But let us remember the inspiring words of Edward Everett Hale, who in 1902 said, “I am only one person, but still I am one person. I cannot do everything. But still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

By recommitting each day our university to the cause of justice, equality and inclusion to all, and by each of us recognizing that even as one person we can do something, we can make the University of Arkansas a better place for every one of us to live.

Please join me in that recommitment,

Daniel E. Ferritor

Chancellor, 1986-1997, 2015