Dear members of the University family,
George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade.
Their tragic deaths – and those of countless others – are reminders that our nation has much work to do to address discrimination, intolerance and other inexcusable barriers to social justice that have burdened us for far too long.
Universities are a place where that work can occur. Indeed, they are a place where it must occur.
It is the University’s responsibility to model principles of civility, respect and understanding for both its campus family and its wider community. Moreover, it is our duty to embody inclusivity and embrace diversity, and to educate others about their power.
Today, our students exemplified these ideals.
Members of the Student Action and Organizing Committee led a community dialogue on campus about the basic human right that all people – regardless of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or ethnicity – have to live in freedom and security.
These students confronted the sadness, pain and outrage they feel about the events of the past week with clarity and thoughtfulness. They answered insular hate with the diverse voice of which this institution is so proud and from which we draw so much strength.
Our students demonstrated civic engagement and community leadership today, and I applaud them.
Moreover, they showed that the path to binding our nation’s wounds – no matter how deep, how historic and how painful – can be illuminated through conversation rather than violence.
Dr. Joseph Savoie