Universities must be places where the free exchange of ideas is not just protected, but encouraged. At the same time, we do not want individuals on our campuses to feel threatened because of their ethnicity or their religious beliefs.

Sometimes these two principles appear to be in conflict. At those times, we must rely on the good-faith efforts of all members of the university community to assure that the resulting dialog is both constructive and civil.

Controversies are arising on campuses nationwide in connection with what some political groups have designated as Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, the week of Oct. 22-26.

In reference to that event, I wish to reiterate the importance of the Muslim community to our university. I fully understand concerns raised, in this post-9/11 era; however, civility and constructive discourse must always prevail. Our university will have no tolerance for overt actions or bigotry directed at members of any group based on their ethnicity or religion.

A world-class university must value both the diversity of people and diversity of ideas. I hope as discussion of this and all other controversial issues goes forward at our university, that those debates can be held in a way that keeps both of those values firmly in mind.