Presidential Memo: A Response to Recent Events in Virginia

TO: The Drury Community

FROM: Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd, President 

Dear Drury Community,

As we prepare to begin Drury’s 144th year, a time typically marked by celebration and great anticipation for what’s to come, we watch as somber scenes of intolerance, racism, violence, and hateful ideology play out on college campuses across the country. The most recent incident at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville is a reminder of how fragile life is and the responsibility we play – as educators and as students – in helping to pave a new way forward.

As president of an institution with a history of bridging divides and fostering reasoned civil discourse, I strongly condemn the words and deeds of the white supremacist groups whose actions led to the deaths of an anti-racist protester and two law enforcement officers. Their hateful and misguided ideas are relics of the past, but these ideas must be confronted in no uncertain terms here in the present by clear-eyed people who understand what is at stake.

I have often talked of the inspiration I find in the story of Drury’s founding. Its creators saw their new school as an instrument of healing in the years after the Civil War, a place where education of the mind and the forging of character would improve people, and the world around them. We carry these principles forth today. Drury has a deep and longstanding commitment to inclusion and acceptance of all people, regardless of race, sex, creed, or any other difference that some would exploit as a wedge. It is important for us to know and to say, as a community, that Drury stands with the overwhelmingly vast majority of Americans who know that this rich diversity is a powerful source of strength and virtue.

I am proud to be associated with a university that teaches the importance of verbal discourse over violence and tolerance, not terror. As we embark on a new year, this is a good time to reflect on the mission of this university and the power we all have to impact positive change.