President Papazian’s Pre-Semester Reflections

Dear Campus Community,

In the days preceding the start of each academic year, our focus ordinarily is on welcoming resident students during move-in weekend, preparing for the beginning of fall classes, and readying our campus for the return of all students and faculty.

It should be a time of optimism and excitement—and we are busily engaged in this important work. Yet this is no ordinary year, as recent incidents at home and abroad have starkly reminded us.

The deadly violence, racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism on display recently at the University of Virginia were an affront to our sensibilities. I was sickened by what I observed, and can imagine there may be concerns about similar activity occurring closer to home—or even on our own campus.

Meanwhile, in just the last 48 hours, we have been jolted by several deadly terrorist acts throughout western Europe.

As a civilized, caring community, we condemn this outrageous, indefensible behavior while affirming our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and respect for individual differences.

All of these incidents understandably may make it harder to focus on all that we have to look forward to this year. It is important to acknowledge our concern for the victims of these attacks, as well as our own feelings of sadness and outrage. I encourage you to take advantage of the counseling services available to students, faculty and staff members.

In the meantime, much effort has gone into making move-in weekend memorable and as smooth as possible. If you are among our resident students arriving over the next few days, be assured that you can expect a warm Spartan welcome from the many members of the campus community there to lend a hand.


Mary A. Papazian