Like many of you, the insurrection that occurred in our nation's capital last week has left me struggling to make sense of where we find ourselves as Americans, especially as it adds to the weight of so many other events that have taken place over the past year. I’ve also struggled with how and when to communicate with you. With the Presidential Inauguration taking place next week and additional threats of violence circulating, I felt it was important to share my thoughts with you about moving forward in a time with so many struggles and concerns looming.
As I continue to reflect on these historic events, I have tried to find some understanding through ongoing conversations and reviewing literature written by historians, past world leaders, and experts on the topic. Many of them speak to the importance of education as a fundamental component in a strong and lasting democracy. Looking within, the UNC campus is filled with passionate educators who seek justice, truth, and moral imperatives that help shape their teachings and inspire the next generation of thinking. As a university, we need to do this work—we must continue to do this work.
Sharing our perspectives and knowledge will be an important part of the healing that must take place. As the events started to unfold last week, our media relations team reached out to one of our faculty experts regarding the historical significance of what transpired. Fritz Fischer, Ph.D., provided an in-depth historical analysis and discussed how it relates to social justice, democracy, and the role of academics. I encourage you to read the article as he provides an excellent perspective on how we can learn and frame our conversations and actions as educators, students, and citizens.
UNC is a community that has proven we can address difficult issues in ways that make us better. While this is a challenging time, my hope is that it strengthens our resolve to tear down the structures that enable violence, inequality, racism, and partisanship so that in an unfiltered and civil way, we can genuinely support, educate, and learn from one another.
Rowing, Not Drifting,