Our Commonwealth has borne witness to hateful acts recently in the United States—road rage violence in Cheltenham, senseless murder in Kentucky, the targeting of citizens and national figures through the postal service, and the largest mass shooting in the name of anti-Semitism in the United States at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. As those families lay their loved ones to rest, these horrific acts have reached a level of intolerance that leads us to ask, “What has happened to our nation’s humanity?”
Ours is a nation where the founding freedoms of our democracy depend on the understanding of our differences and the respect for diverse beliefs and perspectives. The greatest threat to our democracy comes from attacks on our humanity. Expressions and attacks of hate based on religion, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender are alarming and unsettling.
We have a unique opportunity at Arcadia to educate the next generation of leaders and change agents, while reaffirming our commitment to respect all people and to the University’s core values, especially those of civility, diversity, integrity, and intellectual freedom. If we must reaffirm our commitment to these values in response to such hateful and senseless acts of violence and intolerance, we will do just that; and each time we do, our reaffirmation will be stronger and more unified than before.
In the days and weeks ahead, we will look for additional ways to mourn in solidarity with our community members and to address the hatred directed at them because of their identity and faith. In particular, we extend our support to our Jewish community members, to persons of color in our communities, and to all who face oppression or prejudice of any kind. In honor of the fallen victims, University flags will be flown at half mast.
I hope you will join me and others in the Arcadia community by signing a letter of solidarity from the Office of Institutional Diversity. As a University community, we remain united against any and all acts of violence, prejudice, and intolerance.