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K-State Today

March 26, 2012

A special message from Kirk Schulz about open dialogue and international students

Submitted by Kirk Schulz

President Kirk Schulz

Dear Campus Community,

The recent responses by the K-State community concerning international students have been healthy for our campus. The dialogue was sparked by an opinion piece in the student-owned, student-run Collegian and led to many discussions with our international student groups, especially the Chinese Students and Scholars Union. A major public university should provide for, and encourage, multiple viewpoints. This is how we learn from each other and grow.

During the past couple of weeks there were many civil, yet candid discussions about different cultures and how we perceive each other’s words or actions. As a university community we both encouraged and participated in the discussions, with all parties airing their concerns while seeking to understand these very real issues. 

There can be no question about Kansas State University’s commitment to international programs, including both sending domestic students abroad and encouraging scholars from around the globe to study at our campuses. These experiences are vital for success in a global society. As we work toward becoming a top public research university, our global footprint will only grow — it’s an essential part of our plan for K-State 2025. With this in mind, we each need to understand our role in moving the university forward.

K-Staters have always been welcoming and friendly, and I expect this to never change. What should change, however, is our awareness of living and working in a truly global society and how we interact with those from other cultures and countries. This is true of those from Kansas as well as those from China; we are all members of the K-State family, growing and learning together. 

I appreciate the dialogue we had and the responses of those across the community. It speaks well to our future that we can face tough issues and reach resolution.

Kirk Schulz