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Regarding Recent Events

ESU President Allison D. Garrett shared this message with the campus community.

January 15, 2021

Over the past week, I have given much thought to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the subsequent fallout that we have all witnessed. We are all reeling, and each day brings new information and imagery more troubling than the day before. Images of the Confederate flag in our capitol building, our country’s symbol of freedom and democracy, haunt me.

Like many, I have thought, “We in America should be better than this.” We expect our elected leaders to be peacemakers, to conduct an orderly transition to the next administration and to support the rule of law and democratic processes. The four living former U.S. presidents, representing both the Democratic and Republican parties, smoothly handed their offices to the next president. Indeed, all four soundly condemned the acts of January 6.

Yet I, like many of you, worry for our nation as I face the fact that, at this moment in history, America is NOT better than the actions we saw last week. In fact, harmful rhetoric has continued. It is naïve to think our country’s unrest will be solved by the installation of a new U.S. president.

While one person cannot solve the issues before us, each of us can make a difference in our individual sphere of influence. It is up to each of us to see the humanity in our neighbors and help create community at every opportunity.

I encourage each of us to also look for balance in how and where we seek information and consider expanding our media sources. As learners and educators, we should seek out facts, data and opinions that differ from our own. Our responsibility is to question sources, analyze the information presented and use logic to find truth from reliable resources.

While we each work through our thoughts and feelings about the events last week, please remember that counseling is available, either at the ESU Counseling Center for students or through the Employee Assistance Program for faculty and staff.

As a university community, it is our responsibility to provide a place for the free and peaceful exchange of ideas. We must be kind, listen to each other and respond with the respect we expect to receive.

Together, we will rise above,

Allison D. Garrett