November 4, 2020
Dear Campus Community:
As we await the outcome of one of the most divisive presidential elections in modern history, I want to reaffirm that our campus remains wholly committed to the principles of diversity, inclusion, anti-racism and respect for all. We celebrate difference in all of its forms and continue to strive for a campus climate where all are welcome. Our adherence to these values is especially important at a time when the public discourse has been acrimonious and hurtful to so many members of our community.
As a leading research university with a longstanding devotion to social justice, we must play a role in helping to lead the way out of this troubling period. By advancing knowledge through research and scholarship, ensuring access to education for an increasingly diverse population, and fostering an environment where the issues of the day can be vigorously debated, we can break down barriers and achieve greater understanding. So much of what has divided us over the past several years has emerged from a rejection of empirical fact and an embrace of ideological dogma. Colleges and universities, including ours, can help our democracy function at its full potential by contributing to an educated citizenry that is engaged with the world.
The ultimate expression of this engagement is to vote. As the results of the election are tabulated, it is gratifying to acknowledge that we have just witnessed such a large voter turnout, despite the many barriers that have been erected to inhibit the exercise of this most sacred right. I am deeply hopeful that in this tumultuous environment, every vote is counted and that in future elections, access to the ballot box is made easier, not harder.
This election, and the years of political debate leading up to it, evoked a passionate response from members of our campus community. For many, it may be difficult to process the current uncertainty. I have included information below about resources available to you and upcoming post-election events.
Whatever the final result, the productive response to the election is to find new ways to engage in education, activism, civics, politics, government and community in a fair and good-faith effort to influence the direction of our nation. Presidential elections are, by definition and design, a referendum on what direction the majority (as defined by the Electoral College) wants to take the country. They are an assessment of where we stand as a nation and where we are headed. If your values are not reflected in that assessment, you have four years to make a difference before the next presidential election, and many opportunities in the interim to make a difference in your community and in local and statewide elections.
UMass Amherst, guided by a revolutionary spirit, is committed to making a difference in communities near and far. I hope that once you have taken time to absorb and process this election, you waste no time determining how you will use that revolutionary thinking to make the country and the world more just, equitable and prosperous for everyone.
Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy
- A Post-Election Support Space for BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+ Students on Wednesday, Nov. 4, offered by the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success and the Stonewall Center
- Leading Change in a Polarized World with Dr. Sara Konrath, Thursday, Nov. 5, offered by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- “Always Forward,” a community conversation for Brown and Black students, on Thursday, Nov. 5
- Post-election community conversations for international students on Monday, Nov. 9, and Friday, Nov. 20
- The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, including expanded “Let’s Talk” sessions
- The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program