Dear members of the Ithaca College community:
The series of events that unfolded over the last two days on the University of Virginia campus and in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia have stirred in many of us a mix of shock, grief, anger, and resolve. On behalf of Ithaca College’s leadership team of deans and vice presidents, I write to express our condemnation of the violent hatred, racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and bigotry that we witnessed, to send our support to the UVA and Charlottesville communities, and to ask for your commitment to our shared humanity and ideals as a community of higher education.
The weekend’s events are yet another painful reminder that forces of hatred have resurged with vigor in American society, and that the ideology underpinning those forces endorses and enables violence in many forms. The events also serve as yet another reminder that institutions of higher education, far from being insulated from these dynamics, often become the very stages upon which deep conflict over them plays out and reverberates nationally.
Ithaca College’s most foundational principles include creating an inclusive and equitable environment in which students, faculty, and staff from all walks of life can thrive and grow; fostering critical discourse rooted in mutual respect, full engagement, and disciplined inquiry; and building the skills and knowledge to serve as global citizens. The hatred that we witnessed this weekend not only contradicts but directly threatens those principles. We must remain committed to actively resisting actions and beliefs that diminish our humanity and endanger the most vulnerable members of our society.
As we prepare to begin the new academic year and welcome new members of the IC community, there will be many opportunities to explore and affirm how we will work together—to learn, lead, support, and make progress on complex issues both in our society and on our campus. Some of those opportunities will be structured explicitly around this aim. Others will be smaller moments, but no less significant in their cumulative impact. I ask that each of you commit to making the most of these opportunities, in a way that embodies our highest ideals as a community of educators, learners, and citizens. The need is both urgent and lasting.
Shirley M. Collado