June 23, 2016
To Our Students and Members of Our College Community:
A tragic hallmark of our times is increasingly senseless acts of mass violence resulting in terrible loss and bloodshed, pointlessly ending the lives of loved ones and members of our communities, leaving agonizing scars on the lives of the living.
Our reaction to these monstrous events is pain and sorrow, anger and disbelief as the fabric of society is forcefully ripped from the structure that supports it.
Two weeks ago we awoke, yet again, to such a pathological event, as members of the LGBT community in Orlando were slaughtered. The impact of the Pulse Club tragedy is so indelible that it shakes the very premise by which we, as a college community, sustain the belief in the progress and betterment of ourselves and our communities.
This letter is written to each of you, and most particularly to our students. It is a plea that you not give up your quest in the face of evil and continue to strive to better your own life and the lives of others.
On our campus, we treasure our differences. We bring together as many and varied people and personalities as we can to live, learn, argue and laugh. We work and play together, succeed and make mistakes. When Mount Ida students go into the world, they respect and celebrate our differences and recognize that the multiplicity of our differences leads to the success that we achieve in our own lives, in our communities and in our nation.
We know that respect and recognition of the wonderfully varied nature of our community at Mount Ida works – not perfectly, not without occasional frustration – but, by and large, it works. Our community is at once compassionate, supportive, questioning, argumentative, funny and so caring that when the world outside is not the same, it may momentarily diminish our hope for the future.
I ask, now, that you not give in to that feeling of powerlessness. Each generation, it seems, needs to confront its share of evil. Yours is no less confronted than the generation that preceded you in war, social unrest, discrimination, human suffering and economic chaos.
The horrible act of June 12 against the LGBT community, against people of color, against diversity and inclusion, against the best qualities and principles of our nation are so disheartening that, following upon Santa Barbara, Sandy Hook, Aurora and other monstrous events of mass murder, it is understandable to feel that we have failed, our world is lost to blood, guns, violence and irrationality.
Please do not give in to those feelings and fears. Rely on what you learn here, your courage, your principles, the celebration of our differences. We who are your teachers, whether we are in the classrooms, the residence halls or on our playing fields know that you are kind, caring compassionate and principled and that you will end the scourge of guns, and the plague of hatred against those whose differences should be celebrated. Recognize that the strength of this great society is best served when we as a nation embrace all, not the few.
You do that so well at this small wonderful College, I ask each of you not to lose hope, but to instead take what we learn here and what we do here out into the world. You are young and much more powerful than you yet imagine. Please do not accept things as they are, but make them as you want them to be.
All of us who teach you, who support you at Mount Ida believe deeply in this cause and in each of you.