University News

A Message from President Anthony S. Caprio to the Western New England University Community Concerning Current Civil Unrest

Published: June 02, 2020 | Categories: All News

The University will host a virtual gathering Monday, June 8 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Gold weathervane against blue sky and clouds.

Dear Members of the University Community, 

As we have witnessed the tragic events of the past week across our nation and the physical and emotional tolls that have harmed so many, we are even more keenly aware of and concerned for the fair and equitable treatment of all people. We at Western New England University condemn racism, bigotry, violence, and incivility. We are and have always endeavored to be a place where freedom of thought and respect for all human beings are not just lofty ideals, but notions that are intrinsic to who we are and what we do. We stand up for what is right. We seek greater understanding; we seek wisdom; and we seek solutions that can create better lives, better communities, and a better society. We are called to be leaders for positive change, and we have an opportunity to model that change not in words alone, but also in our actions. 

The killing of Mr. George Floyd has sounded the alarm once again. So many members of our University community are grieving not only for the cruel death of a man but for all those who have endured injustice resulting from racism and poverty. People are expressing their fears and anxieties, and these are acute in this time of pandemic when uncertainty reigns. We are learning quickly that we cannot depend on a single leader to repair and strengthen the fabric of our society. We can only depend on ourselves, each in our own way, to find the pathway out of the mess that consumes us. We must effect change collectively and in unity as a community of learning to improve the conditions of all members of our country. We must come to an understanding of the many reasons we have arrived at such a place. 

Toward that end, on Monday, June 8 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Western New England University will host a virtual gathering open to all faculty, staff, and students. Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. Jeanne Hart-Steffes will coordinate the gathering with facilitators. The purpose of this virtual gathering will be to engage in meaningful dialogue, to allow individuals to hear the extent to which our members are struggling with grief and anxiety, to question what the real driving forces are that have resulted in this national turmoil, and to determine how what we learn from each other can guide us to creating solutions to achieve a more just society. We must all be responsible for effecting change. We can’t pass the buck. Together we must provide realistic solutions that we take beyond our campus. 

I hope you will participate in this virtual gathering next Monday evening. We will need to determine together what we will do upon return to the University for the new academic year in order to contribute as individuals and as a community to a more just and civil society. More details are forthcoming. 

Anthony S. Caprio