January 14, 2021

Dear Westminster Student Community,

The beginning of a semester usually brings hope and excitement for new beginnings. We hope this term is no different as you start, or continue, your educational journey at Westminster College. At the same time, the semester begins in the context of turmoil related to the recent events in Washington D.C., which included armed rioters at the Capitol building.

We pride ourselves on cultivating the knowledge and skills that enable you to use your voice in multiple ways, in classrooms and beyond to the affairs of this country. Those skills focus on substantive deliberation and nonviolent advocacy. Given the events of January 6 and subsequent news accounts, we should anticipate civil unrest beginning this weekend and into next week, with the likelihood of violence as a core tactic used by participants. Although you may be inclined to join in or observe protests and related activity, please stay away from all public gatherings and protests, particularly at government venues. Several news sources have reported that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are bracing for potential protests not only in Washington D.C., but in all 50 states, including the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City. The protests may take place anytime from today through the Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday, January 20.

Your health and safety are extremely important to all of us in the Westminster College community. The D.C. insurrection showed us that rioters were armed and prepared to use escalating levels of violence. We are not asking you to take a certain political or social stand; we are asking you to make good choices related to your personal safety, and to continue speaking to each other as well as your faculty and staff to process your thoughts and feelings. Please take care of yourself and watch out for each other.


Glenn C. Smith, Ed.D.
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs
Dean of Students