In a message addressed to the College of Southern Maryland community, President Dr. Maureen Murphy calls for a commitment to American values and unity:
“The events in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend have shocked and horrified our nation. The violence directly contradicts the fundamental principles of our pluralistic democracy, which has been bedrock of our American values. Personally, I was appalled by the blatant symbolism–torches, Nazi German slogans, swastikas—near the sites commemorating Thomas Jefferson, a driving force behind our Bill of Rights.
Community colleges are an outgrowth of American values, and the College of Southern Maryland’s stated values and guiding principles articulate that clearly: Diversity, Excellence, Innovation, Integrity, Knowledge, Respect, Teamwork. What happened in Charlottesville was not American, and as members of the College of Southern Maryland community, we must stand tall for our values and let them guide our actions.
College has traditionally been a safe place where students can explore ideas and challenge assumptions, and as an institution of higher learning, our academic role is to encourage that exploration and to guide it responsibly. Before us is a teachable moment, a time when we can bring people together. Our purpose as a college community is to lift people up and to enhance the quality of their lives, their families, and our communities.
CSM also serves as a community resource for our fellow citizens. Through our Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, and the Diversity Institute at CSM, we provide a key, visible and proactive role in fostering a climate of support and advocacy for all identities, populations and cultures. We partner with our citizens for opportunities to engage in consistent, meaningful exchange via discussion, dialogue, programming and various educational events.
As citizens of the College of Southern Maryland and living and working within our Southern Maryland community, we must make manifest our college values as never before. It is through living those values–by embracing diversity and working together with respect and integrity–that we can fulfill our mission and enhance the quality of life in Southern Maryland. Let us demonstrate, in these divisive times, our commitment to bringing people together for the greater good of our rich and diverse communities.
Maureen Murphy, Ph.D.
President, College of Southern Maryland