Governors State's Response to the Attack on Democracy
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Just a few days ago, we welcomed in a new year and hope for a fresh start following a historic and challenging 2020; however, recent events at the U.S. Capitol reveal that much work remains to be done in our great nation.
Last week’s deadly attack on the Capitol represented an assault on the principles written into the U.S. Constitution and threatens what our nation stands for and what we aspire to become. Watching the tangible and intangible destruction was, in short, horrifying.
I realize not everyone at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 acted violently. Some were there to peaceably assemble to petition the Government for a redress of grievances––their right under the First Amendment. That right, however, is limited by the U.S. Constitution in regards to speech that incites violence. (https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/)
Through civil discourse, civic engagement, and education, we can resolve our issues peacefully and in a democratic manner. We hold these values sacred at Governors State University, where our community members strive to be socially, ethically, and environmentally responsible. We demonstrate our commitment to this goal in a number of ways.
As an institution of higher education, Governors State is proud to be a free and open forum for the exchange of all ideas. This free flow of ideas and ideals is how we promote open minds and critical thinking––the hallmarks of an educated citizenry and a free society.
Throughout the year, we offer opportunities for civic engagement including the promotion of voter literacy and registration, seen most recently during the 2020 election season. Our commitment to social justice continues to be carried out by the Institute for Politics, Public Service, and Social Justice (IPPSJ) and many others within the GSU family are engaged in outreach and community transformation. To further demonstrate our commitment, we recently launched a search for a Chief Diversity Officer who will be charged with enacting institutional change for a more diverse and welcoming campus.
While we are saddened by the fateful events of Jan. 6, we are not deterred from our goals. Our faculty are preparing for students’ return to classes next week, and I see this as the perfect opportunity to engage students around ways we examine controversial issues without violence, intimidation, or harassment.
Governors State University has always been and will continue to be a welcoming place that embraces a broad spectrum of life experiences and interests. This is a quality I love about the university and makes me confident that together we will overcome any challenges that we may face. Together, we must.
Dr. Cheryl Green
President, Governors State University