January 7, 2021

Dear Westminster Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Yesterday we witnessed a tragic and historic moment: a group of armed insurrectionists attacked our nation's capitol in an attempt to subvert democratic processes, terrorize elected officials and citizens, and overturn the will of U.S. voters.

The actions were horrifying but not unanticipated. As a citizenry, some of us have been too willing to ignore patterns of words and deeds, to selectively consider facts and recall history, and to undermine the very institutions that have the potential to bring our country together.

Our college is one of those institutions that plays a critical role in sustaining democracy. We have embraced civic duty, respect for human dignity, and accountability for words as deeds. Westminster plays an essential role in sustaining democracy by fostering ethical, informed, and engaged deliberation, care and compassion for others, and equitable opportunities for all.  Learning means understanding the past so that we can create a better future. It includes taking accountability for our words and understanding the impact of actions not just on our own lives, but others as well.

The new year has brought with it renewed hope and optimism, but also continued anxiety and trauma on many fronts. I hope you take some solace and inspiration in our shared purpose and values, and know that what you do here, for our students and each other, makes a profound difference in ensuring the health of our country.

Take care,