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February 22, 2022

Dear USF Community,

In recent days the university was notified of several concerning allegations involving students in our community. These incidents include:

  • The placement of a swastika symbol on a member of a fraternity.
  • A post on social media anonymously accusing a member of a sorority of racist behavior.
  • An anti-Semitic post on social media that minimized the tragedy of the Holocaust that was purported to have been posted by a member of a fraternity. 
  • Retaliatory behavior from the fraternity and the sorority involved. 

Actions such as these are reprehensible and deserve our condemnation.

Student Conduct and Ethical Development (SCED) is investigating and will act in accordance with the due process standards outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.  We will address any behaviors that do not reflect USF’s values. 

Due to the anonymous nature of the social media site, and as more information continues to come to light, some individuals have been wrongly accused. I implore the community to allow the student conduct process to progress before making judgements on individuals or organizations.  Acts of retaliation will not be tolerated.  Individuals with additional firsthand knowledge of the incidents are encouraged to submit reports to SCED here.

Both organizations with members alleged to have been involved in these incidents have released statements condemning these behaviors and they are cooperating with the university in investigating and addressing the individuals involved. These statements can be found here and here.

The Center for Student Involvement and the Office of Multicultural Affairs are working with the leaders of the organizations to reflect on their organizational values and review the university’s Principles of Community, which state “We affirm the value of diversity, individual dignity, equity, and our common humanity and reject the demeaning acts of bullying, violence, prejudice, and discrimination as they undermine the community we aspire to be.” The university will also use this as an opportunity to strengthen our educational efforts around creating inclusive environments and confronting actions that contradict this purpose. 

There are a number of resources available to members of the USF community who feel impacted by these alleged incidents, including the USF Counseling Center and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. University leaders have been in contact with the Hillel and Chabad organizations and both are also ready to assist students in need. 

USF embraces and celebrates diversity in all its forms. Anti-Semitism, racism, hate, and prejudice have no place here.  We remain strong and united in our commitment to the Principles of Community in our pursuit of excellence.


Dean McDonald



June 6, 2020

Dear Students,

My heart is full of many thoughts and feelings that are hard to express but I want to get some of them out today even if they are not perfect.

I am proud of the Black students, their student allies, and staff who have participated in the practice of peaceful demonstration.

And I am horrified by the images of peaceful protestors tear gassed, arrested and experiencing physical violence by police forces. I have heard from my students that what we are seeing on TV is not even as bad as what they are experiencing. I am worried about you and for you. The Office of Multicultural Affairs has posted tips for safer protesting. Please read them and prepare and I hate that you are having to do that.

The Center for Victims Advocacy and Violence Prevention can assist students who have been the victim of a crime or violence. You have the right to have an advocate with you when talking to police. Advocates are not lawyers but can support you and inform you of your rights. You do not have to be alone during this scary time.

We are also seeking USF alumni who are lawyers to volunteer representation for students arrested during peaceful demonstration. You need representation.

Today many students and staff will participate in a Peace march to show that we are together in this cause and that we will act to tear down systems of racism and create a world where your life is not in danger because of the color of your skin.

Because Black Lives Matter and Your lives matter to me.

In Bull Pride,

Dean McDonald

May 30, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

The demonstrations taking place across the country to protest the tragic killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis call for our community to state loud and clear that we expect justice for all. While we may be feeling isolated during this pandemic, we are not alone. And, when we return to something approaching “normal,” we will not tolerate a social norm in which police brutality is ever tolerated.

Like you, I have witnessed yet another brutal video testimony of racial violence against African Americans and find that my patience is exhausted. We have seen such tragedies for longer than I care to remember, but our calls for social justice can never be silenced. As we grieve, let’s continue to express our unequivocal demand for respect of the civil and human rights of everyone, regardless of race.

Over the next day or two, we expect civil protests and demonstrations in the Tampa Bay area. USF students, staff, and faculty will likely participate to show their solidarity with a just cause. Please take care of your physical and mental health and safety during this time. Whether you choose to protest in public or grieve in private, we want you to know that we share your anger and grief, as well as your firm commitment to social justice and civil rights.

The tragic killings of Black Americans like George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, the false report about Christian Cooper, and too many daily incidents, reflect a society that remains divided by racism and hate. Through higher education, we hope to contribute to a society that is free of the fear and misunderstanding that underlies the racial prejudices and the hatred. We know that these actions create a significant hurdle that our Black students face in their pursuit of higher education. Therefore, we will not waver in our commitment to a university that contributes significantly to a more just society. We are and will remain passionate advocates for a humane, equitable, civil, and compassionate society.

In a message shared by President Currall earlier today, he asks us to reflect on the impact of racism on our lives and our fellow Bulls. He reminds us that we are each empowered to stand up to injustice whenever and wherever it occurs. I encourage everyone to reflect on the principles of community that “reinforce inclusion, civility, and open expression …”. He also encouraged us to support and care for each other. I also encourage you to reach out to each other, check in on each other, and utilize USF resources.

If you find yourself in need of support or impacted by current events and wish to connect with a counselor, please contact the USF Counseling Center at 813-974-2831. Please refer to their webpage for upcoming support programs. 

If you would like to get involved in advocacy and educational efforts, please contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at sa-oma@usf.edu. Follow their Facebook and Instagram accounts for updated information on programs, trainings, and other services.

We are, #OneUSF.

In Bull Pride,

Dean McDonald