At This Painful Moment
Sent June 2, 2020
"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
- Martin Luther King
Dear MSU Community,
There are events in our days that define our lives as well as our national consequence. We are witnessing one of such moments of definition as individuals and as a nation.
Just starting to emerge from the disorienting experiences provoked by a debilitating pandemic, last week we learned about the tragedy of George Floyd, an African American man who died lying on a street in Minneapolis, while pleading for his life. This past Sunday in Bozeman, community leaders, including MSU students, thoughtfully organized a peaceful demonstration that brought together thousands in support of Black Americans and all people of color, while committing to take on the challenge of dismantling racism, seeking justice and promoting peace. I am proud to see our community members making their voices heard in peaceful, productive ways in an effort towards positive change.
At this historic hour, we stand with our students, faculty and staff of color and with every individual - irrespective of race, ethnicity and gender - who is feeling fear, anger and pain because of these events. You are not alone and we see you.
Our heart also goes out to people who are victimized and caught in the confusion created by others who want to take advantage of this situation to sow discord and destruction. We cannot condone violence in any of its senseless expressions.
We have a responsibility - and the opportunity - to work together to address the injustice and inequality that our founding as a public university sought to eradicate. As the land-grant institution of the state, your Montana State University is committed to maximizing access and success for everyone, to finding lasting solutions, and to build a better world and a more just society.
In these times more than ever, we see the value and urgency of the power of education, diversity and community. In the coming weeks, there will be opportunities for MSU students, faculty, staff and neighbors to participate in conversation and action, as part of our mission to engage with the communities we serve. As one of our institutional documents proudly proclaims, "We believe that excellence at Montana State University is best achieved through a culture of intellectual and personal growth that is diverse and inclusive."
Let us come together as one people to create an environment in which our differences are the source of our strength.
President, Montana State University