To the Members of the Case Western Reserve University Community:
While I had high hopes that 2021 would bring a renewed sense of peace and compassion in our nation, I have been absolutely distraught by the events that took place at our nation’s Capitol on Wednesday.
I’m sure many of you are feeling this same emotion.
The events of the past 48 hours have called me to reflect on what this means for our country and our democracy, what it means for ourselves, and what we can do as an academic community.
As I’ve thought about the future of our country and our place in it, I’ve realized one, indelible truth:
We are agents of positive change in this process.
Universities are uniquely poised to contribute to the process of exercising the rights of citizenship. Our role is one of nurturing perspective, modeling healthy practices of critique, and fostering respectful engagement. Academia has been doing this since its inception.
I want to underscore the following:
- We are an academic and intellectual community
- We promote healthy dialogue on tough issues
- We play a role in bridging differences
We help create and foster the informed citizenry that is essential to cultivating a healthy democracy, and healthy civic practices. We want to provide the space for our community to reflect upon and discuss the happenings of the past couple of days.
To this end we are sharing resources and supporting efforts for campus-wide discussion.
As we did during the infancy of our Think Big strategic plan, we call on you, our campus community, to lead these discussions. One of the strengths of our institution is the wonderful mix of observations and perspectives offered by each of you.
The richness of the discussions we’ve been overhearing makes us even more eager to see these conversations extend across the university. We invite you now to participate and reflect upon the events of the past few days together.
Please visit this webpage to view some guiding principles for your groups, and more specific points regarding process. We also are exploring opportunities for more formal discussions, including expert panels and lectures. As it happens, Dean Joy Ward and I are moderating a North Star Seminar from 9 to 10:15 a.m. Monday (Jan. 11) regarding the imperative of interdisciplinarity. It features Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, the vice chancellor (president) of the United States International University-Africa. You can attend via Zoom.
I look forward to your participation as we come together as a community to identify ways each of us can contribute to positive change on our campus and in our society.
Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President