June 1, 2020
Dear Members of the Caldwell University Community,
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today. In the course of the past few painful days and months, we have witnessed the horrific and senseless killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and countless other people of color who died because of what they look like. It is a tragic reality that the sin of racism, which began over 400 years ago in the United States, remains with us today and is an insidious systemic reality in our society.
Racism is a social evil and conflicts with our university’s Catholic Dominican values. As the U.S. Catholic Bishops expressed in a statement issued on May 29, 2020: “People of good conscience must never turn a blind eye when citizens are being deprived of their human dignity and even their lives. Indifference is not an option.” We painfully witnessed the indefensible death of George Floyd at the hands of an officer who swore to protect the public’s safety. We cannot in good conscience remain indifferent to the abuses that people of color endure regularly in our country.
We acknowledge the cumulative pain and trauma that these experiences bring, especially to those members of our community who time and again disproportionately bear the weight of racism. We are united in our fundamental belief that all people possess dignity and deserve respect, and we will not remain silent when any member of our family is harmed.
Together, we will draw strength to face these larger societal challenges, informed by our Catholic and Dominican mission and identity and our value of inclusiveness. We regret that the pandemic does not allow us to gather in person as a community to connect, support, pray and educate each other. However, Caldwell University stands with and offers condolences to the Taylor, Arbery, and Floyd families and the individuals and communities impacted by their deaths.
As a Caldwell family, we embrace the core value of ‘community’; I encourage you to reach out in support of our students, colleagues and neighbors of color who are, without a doubt, feeling the weight of these tragedies. Please let them know they are not alone. Please do not be silent, but speak up for what is right.
For students who may find themselves struggling over these tragedies, please know that Caldwell University’s Counseling Services is available to you. You can email a counselor at firstname.lastname@example.org for free and confidential assistance. Tele-counseling services are available.
Similarly, staff and faculty can receive counseling by contacting Caldwell University’s EAP, Aetna Resources for Living; information can be found on the Benefits section of the Human Resources website page.
Let us stand together as a community to repudiate the racism that ravages the dignity of human life. Let us live out the core values of Caldwell University.
Nancy Blattner, Ph.D., OPA