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Ball State president updates community after controversial incident

Posted at 11:49 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 23:49:22-05

MUNCIE — Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns released an updated statement on his plan to make sure everyone feels welcome on campus.

The email comes after video showing a professor, Dr. Shaheen Borna, calling the cops on a student in class.

Mearns commented on the video on a few days later.

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Some students, like junior Mathias Miles, say it's been hard to see what direct changes are being made to prevent something similar from happening in the future.

"A lot of the student body just flat out sees the incident itself as wrong, the professor definitely stepped out of line," Miles said.

He says he is hopeful the university will continue to take the issues seriously.

"It's not the essence of the city and it's not the essence of the university," Miles said.

Mearns says he's asking for patience to be able to prepare a thoughtful response to the feedback he's received.

You can read the full statement emailed Tuesday morning to the campus community below:

On January 23, 2020, I sent you an email about a very unfortunate incident that had occurred in one of our classrooms two days earlier. I write to provide you with an update of our activities since that communication.

Over the past four weeks, I have met with several groups and many people, both on campus and in our community. These colleagues and friends have candidly shared with me their perspectives and their expectations. These meetings have been informative and constructive.

The conversations have also been inspiring. It is clear that our colleagues, our students, and our community partners share our abiding commitment to build a more inclusive, respectful campus culture for every member of our university community.

Over the next few weeks, I will consult with other engaged campus partners. I believe that it is important for us to listen to many voices – to all of the people who share a commitment to mutual respect and inclusive excellence.

I will also ask several members of our leadership team to assist me in preparing a comprehensive action plan. In particular, I will rely upon Dr. Marsha McGriff, Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, to help me evaluate the recent feedback in the context of our University’s first Inclusive Excellence Plan. As you may recall, the Plan was disseminated to the campus just a few minutes before the incident occurred. That incident, as well as other similar challenges, bring into clear relief why our Plan is so important – and why our work is urgently needed.

I encourage you to take a few moments to review our Inclusive Excellence Plan. As you will see, many of the suggestions and recommendations that we have recently received are embedded into this Plan.

I also ask for your assistance in two respects. First, I ask for some patience to allow me to prepare a thoughtful response to the recommendations and requests that I have recently received.

Second, and more importantly, I ask that you join me as partners in this important work. Our goal is an ambitious one: to create a campus climate and culture where every person is welcome, respected, and valued. We can only achieve this goal if we join our voices and our hands together.

Thank you for your input, your perspectives, your support, and your encouragement.


Geoffrey S. Mearns
Ball State University

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