The following message was emailed to students, faculty and staff on September 19, 2019
Last week, an unknown individual or individuals with malicious intent sought to spread a message of bigotry, division and fear among members of our campus community through emails sent to seven members of our faculty and staff and five offices on campus. Our faculty and staff have worked to protect everyone on our campus while striving to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
We hear the questions posed by some of our students: can you see us, can you hear us, do you understand our lived experiences? Yes, we see you. Yes, we hear you. And, no, we cannot fully understand what some of you are enduring.
The emails, steeped in the vitriol of white supremacy and nationalism, were sent to individual and office inboxes associated with the Department of Sociology, the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the LGBTQ+ Center, and the Intercultural Center. These emails have hurt, scared, threatened, angered, and confused many on our campus in different ways. This cuts at the core of who we are at Wake Forest and impacts us all.
While none of the emails contained actionable threats or detailed a specific attack on our campus, they still managed to elicit the fear the sender intended. Wake Forest consulted with law enforcement and national threat assessment experts — including the FBI’s leading experts on domestic terrorism, white nationalism, and hate crimes — before deciding to continue classes and normal University operations. The increased police presence on campus and enhanced security measures will continue while the investigation proceeds.
Our decision to continue classes does not diminish the real emotions and concern some in our community still feel. We pledge to stand by all our students, staff and faculty when they experience hate and discrimination of any kind. We will revise protocols where necessary and improve on the processes that we know are effective. We must remember who we are as a caring and supportive community and move forward in the spirit of those values.
There are many sources of support for those of you who are affected by these hateful emails. The University Counseling Center (336-758-5273), the Chaplain’s Office (336-758-5210) and the Employee Assistance Program (336-716-5493) are invaluable resources, as are our friendships and circles of personal support. Please continue to look out for each other.
Nathan Hatch, President
Rogan Kersh, Provost
Jane Aiken, Dean of the School of Law
Michele Gillespie, Dean of the College
Charles Iacovou, Dean of the School of Business
Penny Rue, Vice President for Campus Life
José Villalba, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Jonathan Walton, Dean of the School of Divinity
Dear Wake Forest Community,
Lives were shattered and our nation stunned by the horrific and senseless mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Our thoughts, prayers and love go out to all those who lost family members and friends, to those injured, and to all those touched by this unthinkable event. Read more
Categories: University Announcement
This is a guest post from the Office of Wellbeing:
We cordially invited faculty and staff to your colleagues and the Office of Wellbeing for the 2018 THRIVE Dimension Champion Awards Celebration.
The event will be held at 3 p.m. April 10 in Reynolda Hall’s Green Room.
President Nathan Hatch and Vice President for Campus Life Penny Rue will speak at the start of the event.
Please RSVP for the celebration.
Categories: Inside WFU
The Winston-Salem Police Department released the following information about an arrest made as a result of its investigation of the shooting of Najee Ali Baker. Wake Forest Communications and External Relations emailed the information to students, faculty and staff:
The investigation into the events of the early morning hours of January 20, 2018, has remained active and is ongoing by detectives with the Winston-Salem Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.
In addition to the murder of Najee Baker, authorities have learned that on the morning in question, 24-year-old Juan Mortimer was the victim of an assault in which a firearm was pointed at him. The incident occurred in close proximity to the murder of Mr. Baker. The firearm was not discharged at Mr. Mortimer and he was not injured during the encounter.
The Public Record Release was updated on January 23, 2018, to include three photographs depicting men that authorities were attempting to locate as part of their investigation. Authorities have located and interviewed two (2) of the three (3) men depicted in those photographs.
One of the men depicted in the photographs has been identified as 16-year-old Malik Patience Smith. Mr. Smith has been charged with Possession of a Handgun by a Minor, Assault by Pointing a Gun, and Possession of a Firearm on Educational Property.
Malik Patience Smith is being held in the Forsyth County Detention Center with no bond allowed. A court date of February 08, 2018 has been set in this matter and a booking photograph of Mr. Smith is attached to this Public Record Release update.
The second man depicted in the aforementioned photographs has been located and interviewed by detectives. Authorities will not identify him because no evidence currently exists to implicate him in the crime under investigation. This subject is considered to be a witness in this matter.
Finally, authorities are continuing their efforts to locate the third male depicted in photographs released earlier. That male has been identified as Jakier Shanique Austin. Authorities have obtained Warrants for Arrest charging Jakier Austin with Murder and Possession of a Firearm on Educational Property.
Jakier Shanique Austin is twenty-one years of age, approximately 5’10” in height, weighs approximately 160 pounds, and is described as having tattoos on both arms. A November 2017 booking photograph of Jakier Austin is attached to this Public Record Release.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Jakier Shanique Austin is asked to call the Winston-Salem Police Department, or their local law enforcement authorities.
Detectives continue to investigate this incident and are still seeking witnesses with information about the events of January 20, 2018. Authorities ask that anyone with information contact the Winston-Salem Police Department at 336.773.7700 or CrimeStoppers at 336.727.2800.
Additionally, Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch released the following statement:
“On behalf of Wake Forest University, I am grateful to the Winston-Salem Police Department for its tireless efforts in the investigation of Najee Ali Baker’s tragic death.”
Categories: University Announcement
The following message went out to the Wake Forest University campus community on Sept. 3:
Dear Wake Forest Students, Faculty, and Staff,
The current political climate around the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is one of uncertainty and confusion, not only for Wake Forest students enrolled in the program, but also for their families, friends, classmates, faculty and staff. Given that climate, we cannot provide clarity about the program’s continuation or possible changes to federal policy. However, it is critically important for everyone in our campus community – and especially those worried about their safety and freedom to pursue their studies – to know that Wake Forest is here to support all our students, including those who are not U.S. citizens.
In December, President Hatch joined hundreds of other university leaders in signing a petition asking then-President-elect Trump to uphold and expand DACA. Yet, as a decision from the White House looms, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion – through our Intercultural Center, Women’s Center, and LGTBQ Center – acknowledges the anxiety and frustration associated with not knowing the impact of changes to current federal policies. Please consider our collective staff available should you need to an attentive ear or a comforting space. In addition, please remember that the University Counseling Center (117 Reynolda Hall) can provide expert and clinical confidential support, that the International Students and Scholars division (116 Reynolda) can provide up-to-date information and implications for changes to federal policies around immigration procedures and statutes, and that the Chaplain’s Office (8 Reynolda) can provide spaces that facilitate reflection and solace. Finally, consider your own personal support network of family, friends, and staff and professor allies, and how they can be affirming.
Wake Forest, like other institutions of higher education, will continue to monitor changes to DACA. We will also continue to assess progress or updates to Congressional actions, including the BRIDGE Act and the Recognizing America’s Children Act (a rewrite of the Dream Act). Ultimately, the academic and personal-social wellbeing of DACA students at Wake Forest is something we neither take lightly nor take for granted.
As President Hatch has said, we are a community that stands up for one another in the face of discrimination. We are a place committed to respecting and preserving the dignity of all people – from every nation. We are a campus that welcomes diverse people and viewpoints. Our campus is richer for our diverse population and we will continue to provide financial aid, support services, and connection to legal resources for undocumented students. You belong here and you are welcome here.
José A. Villalba, Interim Chief Diversity Officer
Johnathan McElderry, Director, Intercultural Center
Angela Mazaris, Director, LGBTQ Center
Paige Meltzer, Director, The Women’s Center
Categories: Inside WFU