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Message from President Michael T. Benson

Dear Colleagues:
 
Tuesday night our country and our Commonwealth witnessed historic changes in leadership. Following a lengthy and contentious political season, election results reveal nationally that roughly half of our fellow citizens are rejoicing and half are lamenting. A headline in this morning’s Washington Post read: “World markets shudder, U.S. allies fret, Americans celebrate and seethe.”
 
Through it all, our process of allowing Americans to have their voices heard has not wavered. 
 
Universities have long been centers of political debate. This election has elevated many questions related to gender, race, religion, nationality, personal safety and individual freedoms. Our campus is not immune to these issues.
 
Debate has transpired at EKU in various ways throughout the election process.  Voting is the most obvious form of participation in the political arena. The ability to voice opinions, and assemble and associate with others in the name of political affiliation, are also part of a healthy electorate. But most importantly, now that all the votes have been cast and nearly all have been counted, the essential task of rebuilding unity begins.
 
As our mission states, Eastern Kentucky University is committed to equal opportunity, dignity, respect, and inclusion for all people, as integral to a learning environment in which intellectual creativity and diversity can thrive. Simply stated, we can agree to disagree. We can do so with unity of purpose and mutual respect.
 
Our community thrives with a spirit of inclusion that celebrates individuals and their ideas. We are all stronger when we focus on what unites us, rather than what divides us. For example, tomorrow morning we will celebrate unity across cultures at the annual Diversity Breakfast. At this event we will recognize students, faculty and staff who are championing equal rights for all within our EKU family.
 
Our community is richer because we are each unique, and that makes us stronger, together.  As the late poet Maya Angelou wrote in “Human Family”:
 
In minor ways we differ, in major we're the same.
I note the obvious differences between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.
 
We are ALL Colonels and that, my friends, makes us a family.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Michael Benson
President

Published on November 09, 2016

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