Dear Members of the Texas Wesleyan Community,
Welcome to the start of a new academic year. We always look forward to the increased activity when students return in the fall and our campus becomes a lively living and learning community.
As everyone returns to campus, I want to affirm the values and commitment we share as members of an academic community.
A little more than a week ago, on the campus of the University of Virginia and in the town of Charlottesville, an angry racist and anti-Semitic mob marched with hate in their hearts in an attempt to incite fear in ours.
In response to this tragedy, I invite you to become a part of a constructive conversation about our values, beliefs, thoughts and experiences in an open and meaningful way. The Division of Student Affairs is preparing a series of Coffee & Conversation sessions during the next few weeks and a community forum on the subject that will be held in early September. College is a time when ideas are appropriately challenged in a supportive way to promote critical thought and analysis of new information. That is the essence of our mission. We will provide you with more information about these activities in a few days.
Confirmation of Texas Wesleyan’s Values
I want to assure you that at Texas Wesleyan University, our values of honor and commitment to education shape the way we live and think. We learn from one another. We recognize our diversity is our strength. Our respect for our brothers and sisters is our promise and frames all we stand for.
Racism and hatred have no place here.
We share in the sorrow of the families and loved ones who lost a precious life. We pray for the physical healing of the many who were injured and the emotional healing of all who were subjected to this vile act of domestic terrorism.
This is a reminder that words have meaning and hate has consequences.
Silence has consequences as well. If we remain silent, we give license to the haters – the racists, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and white nationalists, as well as the domestic terrorists who are inspired by them.
At Texas Wesleyan University, our core mission is “to develop students to their full potential as individuals and as members of the world community.” We are focused on our dedication to developing critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills in all of our students. It is our mission to reject the closed-minded hatefulness that comes from a failure to utilize these skills.
In every act confirming our values as an institution and as a community, we denounce the demonstrated values of hatred and violence.
I assure you that the safety, security and health of our students, faculty and staff are of utmost importance to this university. Our security service is fully engaged in detecting any signs of disturbances on campus. We are monitoring social media to attempt to detect any direct action involving our campus or official university activities. We are reviewing our policies involving permits for the use of outdoor common areas as well as academic and administrative buildings and athletic facilities. Finally, we are reviewing our policies regarding the use of open flames on university owned or controlled property.
As we work together to challenge the hate we see around us, I offer a prayer from my religious tradition:
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace.
Frederick G. Slabach
Texas Wesleyan University
This letter was sent out by email to faculty, staff and students on Aug. 23.