It is my hope that the spirit of my message will re-affirm the respectful discourse and civil conversations we value and practice in and out of the classroom at Bay Path.
Like many of you, I have been deeply troubled by the hatred and terrorism I have witnessed in just the last few weeks: Spain, Pakistan, and, of course, Charlottesville. I was appalled at the fatalities and injuries associated with these acts, and saddened by the nature of this violence pitting citizen against citizen.
More important, I am worried for all of us, but especially our students who will return or enter our community for the first time after seeing and feeling bigotry, racism, and despicable incidents of violence and terrorism graphically portrayed in our media. What must they be thinking? What must we be doing?
I believe our response is clear. All of us need to be ready through our thoughts, words and actions to uphold our Bay Path community’s commitment to diversity and inclusion; to state clearly and firmly that we will not accept nor tolerate acts or words that discriminate, divide, or make anyone feel inferior or marginalized in any way. We must openly share our Bay Path values of caring for one another, including both our on campus and online students, and appreciate our differences that, in the end, strengthen us.
A hallmark of an educational experience is to encourage dialogue, discussion and debate with civility. At Bay Path, we discuss a problem and we solve a problem together. This is a lesson we must share with our students so they can learn to question and experiment in an environment that embraces respect and kindness.
In last year’s message, I asked us to always keep respect and kindness front and center. I must ask you continue to do so today, and in the coming weeks and months. These are the simplest of human qualities, but these values have a profound and lasting impact on our relationships and will help us to create a more tolerant and empathetic world.