Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
It has been a year like no other — and an election cycle like no other. The lead-up to tomorrow’s election has been marred by a level of incivility unheard of in recent memory. And in parts of our country, even threats of violence. This is not who we aspire to be as a nation, and certainly not who we are as the Valpo community.
Elections are a time when we affirm, through voting, what we believe in and who we would like to be as a nation. In a year marked by division, and by political and social tensions, now is the time for each of us to reaffirm who we are — people of different cultures and belief systems intentionally choosing to live in community in the common pursuit of truth. It is time to reaffirm that the success of our campus as a diverse community of learning is deeply rooted in mutual respect, human dignity, and common courtesy. It is time to reaffirm the values we all stand for, regardless of political beliefs.
It is our good fortune — in fact, it is our privilege — to participate in a diverse learning community where we can engage with those from different backgrounds and with different ideals. Not only because we may discover the unexpected joy in difference, but because it will take us closer to the truths we seek and propel us further on our journey to be leaders who serve our communities and society.
At Valpo, we are willing to confront issues together by relying on each other’s strengths. We build each other up. We do not tear down. We unite in our commitment to listening to, and learning from, diverse perspectives. We do not divide. We respect the rights of others by understanding our differences. We stand firmly on the common ground of civility and uplifting dialogue. We do not waver in this commitment.
In Ephesians 4:2-3, Paul says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
As we engage in discourse across a variety of topics, I encourage you to remain steadfast in your civility to one another. We are all human, formed in the likeness of our Creator. Recognize one another as such.
This is our time. This is your time. To set an example of how, as a diverse community, we uphold our commitment to freedom, faith, inclusion, and dialogue. How we strive for illumination, not denigration. How we live together in harmony, even when we disagree. How we seek truth, peace, and light.
Colette Irwin-Knott ’81