The violence and lawlessness that occurred at the United States Capitol Wednesday afternoon are an affront to the values of our country and another distressing result of the erosion of civil discourse – the civil discourse that is a hallmark of the United States’ democracy. I know many in our community have witnessed and watched this event unfold with intense sorrow, anger and fear.
We have seen leaders of both parties denounce this violence, and we too condemn these actions without equivocation. We must remember violence is never the answer. Congress has reconvened and our process toward the peaceful transition of power following a democratic election is continuing, despite these threats. This is a reflection of the strength of our nation, even when our process is under assault.
As a University, we support the ideals of freedom of speech, free expression and the respectful exchange of opposing ideas and beliefs. But we must also speak out against violence in all its forms, and particularly when it is used to undermine the fundamental institutions of our democracy. It is our responsibility as learners, teachers, researchers and members of this society to not only put aside our differences, but to rise above the hate and vitriol and thoughtfully engage with those with whom we disagree. Civil discourse is the central tenet of an institution of higher education and key to the continued growth and success of our country.
America is built upon a tradition of finding our common good within our many differences, and in the days ahead we must work to ensure that our democratic traditions prevail.