Dear Barnard Community,
This weekend’s events in Charlottesville defy reason or explanation. Our functioning as a civil society depends on free expression and open debate, which are utterly preempted by expressions of hatred and acts of physical intimidation and violence. We deplore the acts that cost three lives and many injuries, and we abhor the bigotry that fueled them. Our hearts go out to all those who have been touched by the events that have taken place.
The fact that a university campus was selected as the place to express hatred drives home to us the important values we as members of the Barnard College community must vehemently affirm. In fact, we insist on them: freedom of thought and expression in which all are able to participate fully and equally, as well as an emphasis on critical thinking and critical inquiry that can help us elevate our discourse to a productive level.
We must also demonstrate our caring for each other as human beings deeply affected by the words and actions of others and by the state of the larger society. In no way can we allow the events we have witnessed in Charlottesville to intimidate or silence our fellow students, our colleagues among the faculty and staff, or members of the communities of which we form a part. Let us stand together and for the work that we do that serves and enhances our common humanity.
Sian Leah Beilock