Bresciani promises aggressive, quick response to racist social media posts

Dean Bresciani

FARGO (KVRR) – North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani is promising to respond “thoroughly and aggressively” to racist social media posts by some NDSU students.

A group of NDSU students has been recently posting the remarks on Snapchat.

Breciani says “hate speech” is antithetical to what the university stands for.  He says that while “hate speech” is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment, “doing nothing is not an option.”

Bresciani says he’s establishing a crisis response team to determine what steps can be taken to improve the climate and safety on campus.

Black Lives Matter is planning two protests. The first is scheduled Friday at 2 p.m. at the NDSU Student Union.  The second demonstration is Saturday at 2 p.m. outside Bresciani’s campus home.

Bresciani’s messages to the campus community are below.


NDSU Community,

I am writing to address hate speech on our campus.  It should go without saying that hate speech has no place on NDSU campus, but I am saying it and saying it loudly.

Incidents involving hate speech are antithetical to what we stand for as an educational community.  The actions of people who participate in hate speech do not reflect the mission and values of our university nor our community.

NDSU values treating all of its students, staff, and faculty with dignity and respect. We promote and strive for an educational environment that is accessible, diverse, equitable, and inclusive. As a campus and a community, we need to be, and I insist that we be, united in our mission and aggressively speak out against bigotry, racism, and prejudice.

I am deeply appalled by the conduct of any students who engage in hate speech.  Once again, it has no place in our community.  Hate speech causes students, staff, and faculty of color to experience campus as a racially hostile environment.  To all people of color who are members of our community, please know that I am ashamed that hate speech exists on our campus.  We must and will do better to help ensure your safety and educational participation.

Making this issue even more frustrating is that colleges have so few legally permissible tools to react because federal courts have established that hate speech is protected speech.  However, doing nothing is not an option, so I am establishing a crisis response team for NDSU, which will begin meeting tomorrow to determine what immediate steps can be taken to improve the climate and safety of campus.  Membership will be diverse and reflective of all areas of campus.

I assure you that the university has always been and will remain sincere in its commitment to inclusivity, but I acknowledge that there are and will be failures out of our control.  In such circumstances, we will respond as thoroughly and aggressively as possible.  We will continue to work together to dismantle systemic racism piece by piece, day by day.

Dean Bresciani

Memo #2

NDSU Community,

I am writing to follow-up on my earlier update, with what I find to be heart-wrenchingly unfortunate news about two more potential hate speech incidents involving NDSU students.

As I promised, NDSU will aggressively and quickly move to investigate all such matters, and if the facts warrant, we will take all legally allowable action. These incidents will be investigated by our Equity Office. The Equity Office plans to retain a consultant/expert to ensure that NDSU is being consistent with all best national practices.

I am also moving to populate and charge the crisis task force that I mentioned earlier today. It is expected that the findings and recommendations provided from this taskforce would help inform the long-term strategic planning work of the President’s Council on Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect.

I want to thank the people who are coming forward with information about these incidents. We need to know about these incidents in order to deal with them. Incidents can be reported to the Equity Office here.

Dean Bresciani

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News