With the start of the academic year just a few days away, but in light of recent national events, I want to reach out to you now, before the semester officially begins.
Like many of you, I have watched in horror the violent events unfolding in Charlottesville. A university campus should be the place where people come together to grapple with difficult questions, learn from each other, and foster — as our mission says — “the creativity, critical insight, empathy and intellectual courage” that are essential to our democracy. That the University of Virginia was instead the site for violence and hatred, and for racist and anti-Semitic vitriol, made a mockery of all higher education espouses.
As our academic year begins, I want to reiterate that I will do all I can to preserve our mission and values, and to find ways in which all of us at UW-Eau Claire can come together, talk together, and learn together. Our diversity is integral to the spirit of this campus community —and to our future as a nation — and we must nurture and celebrate it.
This year, let us reaffirm the values that have been our bedrock for a century and lead the way in continuing our 101-year commitment to active citizenship and lifelong inquiry.