A message from UWA President, Dr. Ken Tucker:
The UWA family has recently been painfully reminded of, and saddened by, social injustices and racial tensions that have led to civil unrest. The tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have forced us to confront centuries of bigotry and hatred that have plagued our nation. These certainly are painful and difficult times for everyone who believes in and strives toward equality, justice, and respect for humanity. While we decry the inexcusable violence and destruction emanating from some of the protests, we understand and sympathize with the pain, anger, and frustration that has seized our nation. We grieve the loss of individual lives as well as the loss of respect for human dignity and worth. So many are hurting, and we must all share the pain as we hear cries for change.
We have long believed that education is the greatest equalizer, but that belief is only as true as we allow it to be through our actions. The academic lessons we learn in class are only a fraction of the education we all need. One of the most valuable aspects of a university education is the experience of interacting, sharing, learning, celebrating, growing, and even struggling toward a common goal with people different from ourselves—different social circles, different education levels, different interests, different religions and creeds, different sexual orientations, and yes, different nationalities, ethnicities, and skin colors. When we embrace the fact that there is strength in our differences, we will be able to reaffirm our commitment to unity and equality.
As president, I ask that the university community come together as one and continue to positively Do Something That Matters (and Be Someone That Matters) to change the world for the better. As James Baldwin notes, “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Change is not easy; it will take time, patience, and sincere commitment. We ask that each of you be willing to be an active part of this change, to work every day to make our campus a more inclusive, empathetic, safe, respectful, and encouraging environment. Each of us has an obligation to treat others with respect, kindness, and love. By invoking Abraham Lincoln’s “better angels,” we have the chance to make the world a better place. Let us embrace the opportunity to move forward and effect positive change on our campus and beyond.