A Plea for Unity
Dear Campus Community:
This election has heightened feelings of alienation, anxiety, and vulnerability, and it has exposed divisions in our society, much deeper than any of us realized. The pain and fear of historically marginalized groups is real, and we must acknowledge it and work to both mitigate its sources and its effects.
Regardless of political affiliation, we can – and we are compelled to — work together on campus and in our surrounding communities to honor and respect ALL members of our community. We also are obligated to protect and stand alongside those who, because of their identities, currently live with fear. Hate speech and intimidation tactics will simply not be tolerated from individuals or groups on any side of the divide. Fighting hate with hate is not the answer. Lutes are better than this. Learning is our shared resource, and dialogue our tool.
As engaged participants in our body politic, we must remain vigilant to protect our learning community and the values we care about and that are core to our mission. This is not the time to debate partisan positions, nor is it the time to close one’s eyes or to stop listening. We need more conversation across political and cultural differences. We must come together in solidarity as Lutes who care deeply about our country, our communities, our friends, and yes, even our foes.
Faculty, staff and students will continue working hard in the coming days and weeks to bring about a sense of calm, a sense of Lute community united in care for one another, and united in defending and standing with those who are disenfranchised and oppressed. At this time, let us remember and honor President Lincoln’s promise of “malice toward none” and “charity for all.”
Members of our community who have experienced incidents of hate or intimidation can share their experiences through the Bias Incident Response Team form, or for students specifically, reporting incidents through the Student Conduct system can be completed through an Incident Report form. And for our faculty colleagues also dealing with post-election stress, I suggest teaching and learning resources at the JED Foundation and at Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
I ask you, please, to find it in your hearts and minds to rise above your fears, your anger and distrust, and your fatigue to come together for the good of all.
President and Professor of English