Today’s Protests on Capitol Hill

Dear campus community,

Today, January 6, 2021, the United States Congress gathered to certify the 2020 Presidential Election. This act is an important, if largely ceremonial, part of our nation’s democratic process. 

Some lawmakers indicated in advance that they planned to issue formal objections to the recent presidential election. Though many anticipated that organized protests would also take place during today’s proceedings, what we are now seeing unfold on Capitol Hill has been met with alarm and concern.

Angry protesters – some violent – stormed and marched through the U.S. Capitol, the heart of our nation’s democracy, disrupting the congressional deliberations. They apparently overwhelmed Capitol Police and forced the congressional proceedings to come to a halt. The building was locked down and lawmakers and others were told by Capitol Police to avoid windows and doors, leave the premises if possible, or seek cover. 

Even more troubling are news reports of violence and at least one shooting. News commentators, as well as political figures from both major parties, are correctly condemning the unprecedented nature of these still-unfolding events. Our thoughts are with those directly impacted by today’s events in Washington, D.C.

Peaceful protests, of course, are a hallmark of American democracy, but there is no place for the kind of chaotic and violent activities we are now witnessing. Assaults on the rule of law strike at the core of our democracy and political process, and they can deeply affect many of us at a personal level.

I encourage you to take care of yourselves and one another. Students can seek assistance through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and employees can seek assistance through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

My hope is that in our community, and at San José State University in particular, we will come together in a spirit of unity. Please join me in reaffirming our shared values of inclusion, equity, fairness, and respect for one another.


Dr. Mary A. Papazian