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Message on Recent Events

January 8, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

It has been my honor to walk the halls of Congress, meeting with our delegation in support of our students.  Never could I have imagined the scenes that took place there on Wednesday. I know we all watched in shock and sadness.

It is without question that violence has no place in our political process and the scene we witnessed at the Capitol can never be repeated.

This past year has been like no other in recent memory, marked by racial injustice, protests, both peaceful and violent, and the tragic death of so many in a pandemic. Heightened emotions are now raw. Questions about how we got here and what happens next do not abate.

Even today, we marked the 10th anniversary of a grievous act of violence in Tucson.

Our challenge now as educators is understanding where we go from here.  Our nation did not reach this point without a reason. We do not have to agree but we should seek to understand.

We must embrace our place as role models.

As a country, as an institution, we will always have disagreements. As an institution, we work to ensure that our disagreements are handled with civility and respect, and we will continue this work with the knowledge that we serve as a model for the community and the larger world.

Yesterday we began to gather input from a few faculty and others, all of whom feel the burden of our times. Yet, we found opportunity through the teaching of critical thinking skills, logic, broad liberal arts, history and civics. Further, we will be meeting with faculty and staff leadership to plan our next steps forward.

These days are heavy days. The future promises many challenges, but, just as we have gotten through the past 10 months together, we will continue forward together, with awareness, with support, with love, with hope, with healing, and with the promise of a better world.

I will close by repeating this message from May 31, following the slaying of George Floyd: By doing what we do best – impart knowledge and open our students’ eyes to a world of possibility -- we can help create a world that is more just and everyone has the opportunity to achieve their dream.

We may not have answers for all of the questions we are struggling with at this moment, but as we work to bring healing to ourselves and to our community, and as we progress through the extreme challenges of the moment, we can take solace in continuing to do what we do best knowing it makes a difference, and bringing us closer and closer to a world of opportunity, equity and justice.

 

Lee D. Lambert
Chancellor

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