The Troubling Events of Recent Days
To: The NYU Community
Date: October 29, 2018
From: NYU President Andrew Hamilton
Dear Members of the NYU Community,
Given the last few day's events, it would be entirely justified for any of us to feel bewildered or distraught, or even angry. Bombs sent to people because of their political party affiliation. Men and women gunned down because of their religion. Others shot and killed at a grocery store because of the color of their skin. An abundance of divisive rhetoric, when what is needed is a summons to our better natures and a call to unite us.
How should we, as a university community, respond to what we see around us?
I believe the place to start is by turning to the great traditions that have sustained us - substituting respect and inclusion for bigotry and hate, listening and discourse for outrage, and peaceful debate for violence. We must, each of us, take it as a personal responsibility to respect and honor the essential human dignity and value of our fellow NYU community members irrespective of how they worship, whom they love, where they come from, or what color their skin is; to place reason, facts, and understanding at the forefront of our thinking; and, when possible, to take the initiative to improve the world around us.
I don't delude myself that we can bring all the world's hatred and violence to an end by doing these things. But universities have always brought illumination to dark places, and perhaps we can light the way here for others.
That does not mean we shall not encounter challenging and even offensive ideas on our own campus. It seems the fate of institutions that value the free exchange of ideas highly is to sometimes be tested with extreme examples.
Finally, let me remind you that in challenging, upsetting moments there are many people here to help you, be it a friend, a colleague, an RA, a faculty member, a chaplain, or the Wellness Exchange. And If you see someone else struggling, don't hesitate to extend a hand or bring in others to help.
What we have seen during these last few days is not who we are as a society, I am convinced of that. Take strength in the values of our community. We shall get through it.