This has been a sad and disturbing week for our nation.

Following the devastating events in Charlottesville, Virginia, we witnessed our President fail to condemn neo-Nazis and white supremacists immediately, consistently, and definitively. Since then, we’ve seen a firestorm of fully justified criticism create deep divisions between branches of government and civil society, further exacerbating the gridlock that hurts our nation so badly.

Throughout my long military career, I was lucky enough to be promoted over time. And at each rank, I swore an oath “to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” The Constitution is the ultimate guarantor of our values – democracy, liberty, freedom of speech and religion, racial and gender equality – we execute them imperfectly, but in the end they define our nation.

Both in the military and here in academe, I’ve certainly witnessed deep divisions, powerful differences of opinion, as well as racial and cultural clashes. But above all, I have experienced the powerful impact of what can be achieved when those from different backgrounds, cultures, countries, and belief systems come together to work as one. As we witness the sorry events of the past week, we need to reaffirm together the values that underpin us – they are, truly, “what makes America great.”

At The Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy, we are an institution rooted in the value of inclusivity and we utterly condemn the acts of racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and violence that this country has just experienced. Our leader, Tufts President Tony Monaco spoke for all of us when he issued this statement in the wake of the events in Charlottesville last weekend. Our Provost, David Harris, is leading a campus-wide effort to help overcome cultural division and differences. That is the course we must steer here at Fletcher as part of Tufts University.

Fletcher’s ethos embraces the differences of personal, professional, and academic backgrounds. We hold dear the acceptance of differing beliefs, opinions, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities. And we wholeheartedly believe that such diversity is essential to preparing leaders with a truly global perspective. Well over a third of our graduates are from outside the United States, representing nearly 200 countries over the course of our 85 year history. We are among the most diverse schools in the nation in every dimension.

As we enter into a new academic year, we look forward to welcoming back students, faculty, and administrators who represent these same core Fletcher values.

In these difficult times, it is incumbent on the ranks of Fletcher – faculty, administrators, students, and alumni – to forge ahead and carry forth these values to better our communities, our countries, and our world, for the benefit of all. That is the course we will sail.

As always, thank you for reading.

Comments are closed.