Important Message from President Jeffrey Bullock
Apr 13, 2016
By now, many of you are aware of the cross burnings that took place earlier today in the Washington Street Neighborhood of Dubuque. Our Mayor, City Manager, and law enforcement officials—along with organizations such as the Ruby Sutton Multicultural Center—are all actively engaged in addressing this awful act of bigotry. As a resident of this city, I am proud to be a part of a community where this kind of behavior is confronted head-on, even while I am ashamed at the prospect of having to write this letter in the first place.
I am rooted in a faith tradition that believes in sin, and this incident is one very visible manifestation of that reality. As a Christian, I am also part of a faith community that believes in the power of hope, and in hope’s power to overcome evil. I am privileged to be President of a University that has a Mission of preparing people to overcome evil with good, and that dares to practice the disciplines of kindness, tolerance, hospitality and even forbearance, daily. I have the real joy of experiencing that very real reality with each of you. In other words, part of the Mission of this University is to learn how to be people of hope, even in the midst of rage, and violence and, yes, sin. We are such a people.
To that end and, as your President, I want to encourage all of us to continue to be the kind of people that I know us to be. Within this community, let us be a place that models hospitality and acceptance with those whose backgrounds may be different from our own. Let us be a place where we can learn from the experience of others and, when we speak, let us “…speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision.” But let us also be people who dare to lead, in this community and beyond, for each one of us has something important to say. And when we do speak, let our words be void of fear, bigotry and hatred, and let them model the very real possibility of love and compassion.
One of the real beauties of this campus is that, though we are a long way from perfection, we do often experience, together, “…a yet more excellent way.” Together, let us bear that good news wherever we may be. Let us support those in positions of leadership throughout our community. Let us pray for those who harbor anger and bigotry in their hearts. And let us show our support for all people who are hurt by this awful act.