Reflection on Recent Events
President’s Note – Reflection on Recent Events – January 12, 2021
Dear University Community,
Last week we witnessed an act unlike any we have ever seen in U.S. history, and I join with all those who have expressed their horror at seeing the U.S. Capitol violently attacked. It pained me deeply to watch those scenes unfold, and to see such hatred unleashed in that manner and in that setting.
We know that emotions are running high in our nation, and passions are fueled by political divisions on top of an unrelenting pandemic that has caused so much suffering. During such volatile times, when frustrations mount and fuses are easily lit, it is crucial that we step back from the brink, reflect on the consequences that our words and actions may have, learn lessons from what has occurred, and try to direct our energies toward efforts that will help us all have a better tomorrow. Those of us focused on education especially would be among the first to say that we cannot have a better tomorrow if we do not learn from the mistakes of yesterday.
I’ve said many times how proud I am to be the president of FDU, and one of the biggest reasons for that pride is the long history of diversity we have enjoyed, along with the healthy and respectful expression of dissenting views. Uniting together as a community never means that we have to hold the same beliefs or opinions. It simply means that we understand that what unites us is far stronger and far more important than those things that divide us.
The same is true for our richly diverse nation. And I hope beyond hope that despite our differences, Americans can somehow find a way to recognize our mutual interests, our shared desires and, most importantly, our collective fates. Those immortal words of Abraham Lincoln are more salient today than ever, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Each of us must do everything in our power to heal the divide and work peacefully together to ensure our future prosperity. There simply is no other way.
If there is one message I wish to convey to our students, and all community members, it is that the democratic ideals and the values our country holds dear are not automatically bestowed on us or future generations by the hand of history. It is incumbent upon us to work devotedly to preserve and perpetuate the principles we hold most dear. And they are only as strong as our current commitment to them. We cannot take them for granted, and we must continually and earnestly protect and express them.
The road ahead may seem daunting, but I know the difference that people can make. Our country has certainly traveled a difficult road, and we are far from where we want to be in the journey, but the actions of individuals united in a common cause do make a difference. I continually urge our students and all at FDU to make their voices heard, and to work persistently but peacefully toward a more humane, united and prosperous world for all.
Yours in FDU,
Christopher A. Capuano, Ph.D.