May 30, 2020

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Dear members of the Coe community:

I suspect many of you reacted with horror, as I did, when you saw the video of the tragic and senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  Now protests have spread across our country.  These demonstrations reflect the frustration of citizens who for years have called for change, who are in anguish following another example of institutionalized racism and violation of trust by those in power, and who have lost faith in the very systems that purport to serve them.  

I am certainly not endorsing violent protest, but I understand why so many citizens are raising their voices, demanding that this abuse of power must stop.  I trust that no member of the Coe community wants to live in a society where some people are forced to live in fear on the basis of race, ethnicity, or other dimensions of their identities.  

I realize that our community is scattered far and wide this summer, a situation made even more challenging by the COVID pandemic.  Those of us watching the news here in Cedar Rapids are thinking of you, wherever you are, and worrying about your safety and well being.  You are part of the Coe community whether you are here on campus or elsewhere.  If there is anything that we can do for you I hope that you will reach out to us.  Above all, we must commit to doing everything in our power to ensure that you inherit a better future.  The purpose of higher education in the United States is to prepare a populace for self-governance in a participatory democracy, so it is imperative that we exercise our rights as citizens to condemn injustice and create change.