Dear IU students:
On this first day of classes, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to what I am certain will be a memorable and eventful year at Indiana University, and a particularly exciting one as it is IU's Bicentennial Year.
You have chosen a great time to be a student at IU.
You are a member of one of the most academically accomplished and most diverse student bodies in the history of our university.
You will be learning from and working with faculty and staff who are among the leading scholars, researchers and innovators nationally and internationally and who are determined to help you reach your biggest personal and professional goals.
You will be presented with opportunities to gain invaluable knowledge, skills and experience, while working alongside your peers to create positive change in local neighborhoods, in our state and around the world.
And you will form friendships and mentorships that will last a lifetime.
You are also returning to IU — or arriving here for the first time — at a momentous time in the history of IU. The yearlong IU Bicentennial, which officially began July 1 and will end on June 30, 2020, is a time when we will celebrate all that makes IU such a world-class university. It features a number of special activities, courses, events, projects and programs, many of which have been designed and planned by your peers, that will enable you to learn from and interact with IU alumni, colleagues, friends and supporters around the country and globe. I encourage you to visit — and bookmark — our special IU Bicentennial website to check out all of the activities we have planned.
To those of you who will be part of our Bicentennial class of 2020 — and to those who will continue on at IU after this year — we promise to help you get the very most out of your IU experience.
In return we ask that you work hard, take personal responsibility for your behavior, respect your fellow IU community members, and treat others with civility, human dignity, tolerance and understanding.
You are a member of one of the nation's most international universities, where you have the chance to meet and learn from students from more than 170 countries. This is a place where you can seek to better understand the ideas, assertions, arguments, customs, traditions and beliefs of others with whom you have chosen to share this special time in your lives.
This is a place where forward and broad-minded thinking, community building, a free and civil exchange of ideas, and learning from the perspectives of others is strongly encouraged. As expressed at our Free Speech website, this includes welcoming the varying viewpoints of your fellow students, as well as our faculty, staff and guests on campus.
But IU will continue to have zero tolerance for acts of bigotry, hatred, violence, intimidation and assault on our liberties. These loathsome incidents have no place on our campuses. We will be vigorous in protecting members of our university community against any threats to their freedoms and ensuring that our campuses continue to regard tolerance and inclusive diversity among their cardinal virtues.
In the coming months, I hope you will do all you can to reinforce — through your positive behaviors, compassion for your fellow students and courage to respond when called upon to advance the common good — IU's strong and unwavering commitment to a learning environment where we are all respected, no matter our race, ethnicity, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status or sexual orientation.
I know I speak on behalf of the entire faculty and staff when I say we are looking forward to an exciting and productive year ahead and doing all we can to make your journey through IU a memorable one.
My very best wishes for a successful and productive 2019-20 academic year.
Michael A. McRobbie