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Our commitment to creating a welcoming and supportive environment

Our commitment to creating a welcoming and supportive environment

Dear DU community members

It is with deep and profound sorrow that I write about the egregious act vandalism that occurred on Friday, April 15, and which severely affected our Native and Indigenous communities. The act of destruction is against our values and undermines us commitment to creating a welcoming environment that encourages belonging. This act is strongly condemned by me.

Our Native and Indigenous community members are grieving and hurt. We are there for them.

I am sorry for the actions of these students on behalf of the entire University of Denver The Native Student Alliance, in particular, as well as to the wider Native and Indigenous community.. Our Native Student Alliance members built a tipi in the green of Anderson Academic Commons last Friday. The tipi’s poles were left out over night by members of our Native Student Alliance. They were then broken and vandalized by unknown persons. I regret deeply that the University was involved in this loss. Inadvertently failing to secure tipi poles for safekeeping that night.

This act is a form of vandalism that perpetuates a needless and painful trauma to the students and all members of the Native and Indigenous communities at DU. Our Native students, alumni, faculty, staff, and staff have shared with me that tipi poles are spiritual beings and an extension of their culture, histories, and families. This is a desecration of their culture and personhood.

Although it is impossible to reverse the damage done, our team will do everything in their power to prevent such an act from happening again.The tipi and its poles are protected and stored in a designated area. I, along with several University leaders, will be walking alongside our students as they begin the emotional and difficult ceremonial journey to obtain new tipi poles. This will allow us all to see from a first-person perspective how devastating this loss is.

Our Native American and Indigenous community members have shown remarkable grace, courage, and honesty since the incident, despite their pain, understandable distrust, and We have much to learn and I ask that the entire community commits to challenging such a foolish act on campus.

As we look through all video footage on campus and continue to investigate this act, I ask anyone within our campus community to contact campus safety through with any information. michael.bunker@du.eduanonymously through Campus Safety reporting site

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