Community Message: Aug. 24

August 1 was my one-month anniversary as president of the University of Maine and the University of Maine at Machias. It has been a rich month, filled with new insights and connecting with the loyal, committed members of the university communities.

My learning comes from my interactions and observations, and what comes in daily to my in-box. Instances such as these — the staff member I observed so thoughtfully helping a returning student navigate his re-entry to the university, the teammate who so beautifully paid tribute to Darius Minor as “brave and strong,” the generous alumna who established a special fund to benefit a cause and the Maine town so important to her, and the first-year student who chose a major in engineering because of the paper mill in his hometown — have already shaped a portrait of who we are and can be.

I am delighted to be here.

As we anticipate the opening of the fall semester, allow me to share some priorities that, for all of us, are central in sustaining a campus climate of inclusion and safety. A culture that enables all of the members of the community to thrive is key to the learning, working, and living environment of a university.

We must never tolerate sexual harassment, misconduct, or discrimination across our campuses — in our field sites, labs, and facilities, as well as in our classrooms, residence halls, athletic venues, and workspaces. I strongly encourage every member of the university community to review the University of Maine System, University of Maine, and University of Maine at Machias policies and reporting avenues regularly.  Our policies and instructions for reporting or making complaints are online.

Fairness and the protection of privacy and confidentiality also are essential to inclusion. At the same time, we must cultivate a culture of transparency, trust, and open communication, with clear avenues for complaints and concerns to reach the level of the president, as appropriate.

Thank you for everything you already do, and will continue to do, to make the University of Maine and the University of Maine at Machias productive, exciting places by ensuring that we are inclusive and that all can participate in our community to the fullest extent.

I look forward to getting to know you over the coming months. Have a great semester, and watch for an announcement soon about the president’s office hours.

Sincerely,

Joan Ferrini-Mundy
President, University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias