The following message was sent to the Salem State community members on the evening of January 6, 2021.
Dear Campus Community,
As you are likely aware, hundreds of protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building during what is traditionally a hallmark of this country’s peaceful transfer of presidential power—certifying the results of the election during a joint session of Congress. While diverse viewpoints are crucial to our democracy, they must be expressed without violence and with respect for our elections and their outcomes. As many of us try to make sense of how our country has come to this point, a dark day for democracy, I ask that you continue to have faith in the process as certifying the results has reconvened.
As I mentioned in November, whether you are happy or discouraged by the outcome of this presidential election, your participation is needed in the work ahead to mend our polarized nation. We must now focus on healing our democracy and listening to each other in new ways. It is up to all of us—especially our students, the next generation of leaders—to demonstrate the value of working collaboratively to address our country’s and communities’ biggest challenges. The work we do at Salem State, and the leadership our students have shown when it comes to voting and civic engagement—and to the sharing of their voices on campus issues—give me hope that a better future is ahead of us. We must keep working for it, and despite our differences, do so together.
Today’s events and the differential treatment of today's rioters and this summer's protesters for racial equity can be traumatic for those with the lived experiences of racial violence. I realize that these events add further difficulty to an already troubling time. Please continue to practice self-care and utilize resources available to students, faculty and staff on campus.
John D. Keenan