Dear Students and Alumni,
I hope you are enjoying a safe and relaxing break. I am writing to share with you the Northeast Regional Honors Council’s (NRHC) statement regarding the recent violence in Washington D.C. As you know, the MU Honors School is an active member of the NRHC, and the message they have sent is important.
What resonates powerfully for MU’s Honors School is the NRHC’s recognition that the riots at the U.S. Capital were due in part by a “lack of adequate education and a lack of trust in the institution of education…” I feel strongly that we use education as we “persevere in the search for answers and the truth…” particularly when such truth involves supporting liberty, justice, and human dignity (as Elie Wiesel’s quote below suggests).
There is no such thing as an innocent bystander. We are all actors, and inaction is a powerful form of action. The statement by the NRHC implores us all to act rather than to sit idly by. By acting, however, I do not mean that we must all agree about different political, religious, social, and cultural issues. Your education at MU, and particularly your education through the Honors School, requires you to draw on research and create new knowledge. In that spirit, I implore you to learn the data around issues you are passionate about, understand how to analyze those data, listen to and respect other people’s interpretations of those data, and engage in lively, respectful, discussions. In other words, use your critical thinking and research skills to better understand the world around you and to guide your actions, as well as to engage in important dialogue with others.
Here’s hoping for a more peaceful, healthy, and socially active 2021. I look forward to the start of the semester when we can continue to engage in critical dialogue that is essential to the learning process, and indeed to our democracy and shared humanity.