April 18, 2018

Dear Campus Community,

Yesterday, our nation lost a dignified and much-admired public servant as Barbara Bush, our former First Lady, passed away.

Last night, I issued a statement on behalf of Fresno State extending my deepest condolences to the Bush Family on their loss. I also made it clear that statements to the contrary issued by one of our faculty members as a private citizen were matters of personal opinion and did not in any way reflect the University’s core values. I am appalled and deeply disappointed in the insensitive conduct displayed last evening on social media.

Under our Constitution, strong differences of opinion are to be expected and their free expression embraced. This is the essence of our democracy. At the same time, I would like to urge everyone in the campus community to recognize the moment we are in and allow for a time of respectful reflection during the Bush family’s and the nation’s period of mourning.

More broadly, I ask that we each continue to respect individuals with different points of view and to make a sincere commitment to mutual understanding or, at the very least, respectful disagreement.

On behalf of the Fresno State community, I thank you for giving this matter your thoughtful attention.

Dr. Castro's Signature
Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P.

April 17,2018


On behalf of Fresno State, I extend my deepest condolences to the Bush family on the loss of our former First Lady, Barbara Bush.

We share the deep concerns expressed by others over the personal comments made today by Professor Randa Jarrar, a professor in the English Department at Fresno State. Her statements were made as a private citizen, not as a representative of Fresno State.

Professor Jarrar's expressed personal views and commentary are obviously contrary to the core values of our University, which include respect and empathy for individuals with divergent points of view, and a sincere commitment to mutual understanding and progress.