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A message to the Benedictine University community from President Gregory
June 2, 2020
DO WE MEAN WHAT WE SAY?
As a Benedictine community, all are welcome, diversity is our strength and the foundation of our community rests with the idea and notion that all contribute to the commonality of our values and mission. From diversity comes wisdom, shared insights and experience as well as compassion and understanding.
Our community stands together in times of adversity to act boldly in support of a few or many. Benedictines are “extremists”…extremists of hope, love, understanding, justice and moral goodness.
Words are no longer sufficient, just as they weren’t sufficient in the mid 1950’s and 1960’s.
Do we mean what we say?
If so, we will not permit nor allow any member of our community to live in fear, to struggle with feelings of alienation or uncertainty, to be betrayed by the powers that are meant to serve and protect all people regardless of the color of their skin. If we mean what we say, Black Lives Matter.
Do we mean what we say when we use our hallmarks as our standards for care and compassion?
In the past, I have spoken as to how we must transform the University in preparation for the future. It might be more appropriate now to speak in terms of transforming ourselves to be prepared for an unscripted future but one in which we must work together in order to survive. As an institution and a community of people, our hope rests in our ability to live and practice our values both on campus and out in the world. This means declaring opposition to hatred, bigotry, racism and discrimination of any type. Why? Because we mean and believe what we say.
The true “Benedictine experience” requires participation across all lines of the University with a commitment to intentional interaction and dialogue. I have seen it time and again during our annual Teach-In for Social Justice and Ben Talks throughout the school year. But if we truly mean what we say as a Benedictine university, we must commit to open dialogue every single day. As we mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, we must commit to learn from these recent tragic events. We must seize this moment in time as our opportunity to change our society for the better and stop the centuries of hatred and bigotry that have persisted for far too long.
Today, we must do more than hear…we must listen and learn from our past and from each other. Together we much search for the lessons which have been there all along but often times in relative obscurity. And together we must apply them to build a better future.
Using our Benedictine Hallmarks as guiding principles, the University will stand united in our efforts to support diversity and equality. As we look to better our community, we are committed to the well-being and safety of all. We continue to support, love and welcome every member of our community regardless of race, religion or cultural differences.
I am encouraged by the discussions that are already happening among our community members. In an attempt to offer assistance and support for our students, parents and alumni, the University will expand and make available the following resources and services:
Benedictine University Resources and Services:
Center for Mission, Ministry, and Inclusion
Dr. Peter Huff; Chief Mission Officer and Professor of Theology
Benedictine University Inclusion and Diversity
Karl Constant; Assistant Director of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
Elizabeth Sodaro; Interim Assistant Director of Counseling
Mesa Campus Ministry
Rob Curtis, Director of Campus Ministry
In closing, I want to thank our Black Student Union, G.L.O.W and all who have spoken out in favor of truth, justice and working together during this tumultuous time. The University is committed to making your voices heard. We are a better institution and will only continue to improve because of your hard work and determination.
Be safe. Listen well. And support one another.
Charles W. Gregory
Please continue to monitor your Benedictine email and the ben.edu website for any updates regarding COVID-19. In the event that a longer Virtual Campus period is needed, alerts will also be sent via the University’s BEN ALERT system. We continue to closely monitor the situation and are following all recommendations from the DuPage (Lisle) and Maricopa (Mesa) County Health Departments and the CDC.