Recast | Responding to recent events in the country

From: McAvity, David <>
Sent: Friday, January 8, 2021 3:47 PM

Dear Colleagues, 

I am following up on the email message that was sent to our entire community from Senior Leadership yesterday. 

The troubling events in Washington DC, and in our own Capitol Campus, followed unprecedented challenges to our democratic norms since the elections, and the polarization in the country that many of our political leaders and media figures have fanned. At the same time, hopeful signs of progress in the long march to equality in America are evidenced by the election of the first Black, Asian, female vice president in the country’s history and the first Black and Jewish senators in Georgia. 

These events and many others this year have surfaced strong emotions. They raise questions and provide opportunities for dialogue and learning about contradictions in our country: 

  • Democratic institutions and values are being undermined in a country for which democracy is fundamental to its identity.  
  • The rights to protest and to free expression are being marred by riots, calls to violence, and deliberate misinformation. 
  • Grief and frustration about years of racism and injustice are being compared to anger stoked by false claims of massive fraud. 
  • Truth and facts are obfuscated and diminished for many Americans by lies, distortion, and distrust in expertise and science. 
  • Social media with its potential to connect, share and inform has led to increasing polarization, isolation and factionalism. 

Some of you may plan to address such questions and contradictions in your classes and programs, while others may decide that the classroom is not the place for this type of engagement. Either way, I believe that it is important for us as educators to understand what is going on in our democracy and to create opportunities for our students to grapple with such contradictions and tensions, with the hope that from understanding will come reason, common ground, and positive change.  In collaboration with others in our leadership team, I would like to support faculty interested in responding in real time to these events by having some kind of dialogue or panel about these issues in the coming weeks. Some faculty have already approached us with such a suggestion. Let me know if you are interested and I will help bring folks together who may want to plan and organize something. 

Please also let me know if I can support you in any other way.  

Best wishes and stay safe, 


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