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June 1, 2020 - President's Bulletin

From the President 

As I began to write this earlier in the week, I had a different message in mind. I had planned to write about the lessons we’ve learned from the pandemic or about how the challenges we face make us stronger. Yet, neither seems appropriate for the moment. Throughout the week, I’ve struggled with the images in the news. The rising death toll that numbs us to the many heartbreaks and losses so many families are enduring. I see the disproportionate number of minorities that are dying in this pandemic; the lack of resources for the most vulnerable in our community. I see the self-appointed posse of vigilantes hunting down a black jogger, claiming self-defense. The images of George Floyd struggling to breathe, his cries callously ignored.  

I’ve struggled for days to find words that can express the unbearable sorrow, anger, and frustration that I feel in every fiber of my being; my soul aches. Maybe that is for the best. Words are cheap when lives are at stake; they fall on deaf and uncaring ears. Words are twisted and spat back at our face dripping with the poison of ridicule, sarcasm, and malice. Words are silenced as we gasp for air under a chokehold or knee. Words alone do not change history or bend its moral arc. Our words do not define us; our actions do.   

The callous action of an individual should not taint the valor and dedication of those who risk their lives to protect us, but the lack of a swift response to those actions should alarm us. We are a nation divided, where truth and reason seem to have succumbed to the violence of hate and the vile rhetoric that demonizes those who are different from us. The pandemic is but a mere symptom of the disease that plagues our society; the cancer that is eating us from within. If anything, the pandemic has revealed the fractures in our society, the inequities entrenched through centuries of systemic oppression. We see it everyday in the struggles of our students, the almost insurmountable challenges they face as they pursue their education. We can no longer afford to ignore the equity gaps, the injustices in society, the disregard for our common humanity. Words alone will not suffice; we must act. We cannot afford to sit idly by.  

There are days when I fear that the voices of our better angels will be muted by the demons of hatred that haunt us; days when I fear that the darkness that has engulfed us will suffocate the light. Yet, I believe, I must believe, that the dimmest of light will burn more brightly in the darkest of night and that even love defeated is stronger than hate.  Throughout history colleges and universities often led the way, sowing the seeds of knowledge and freedom, reinventing our world, and serving as a catalyst for change. In the hallowed halls of colleges and universities, we value differences, protect dissent, and engage in civil discourse. We challenge ideas, seek common ground, focus on solutions rather than blame. I believe in the power of education to effect change. Through education we can lift the veil of lies, ignorance, and fear that has descended upon us. We may try to hide the truth, to deny it, to ignore it, but we cannot escape it. Inevitably, truth will set us free. I invite you, as a college community to lead the way, to be the catalysts of change that our world needs in these trying times.  

Statement From QCC Campus Police Chief 

As the Chief of Police for the Quinsigamond Community College Police Department for the last 15 years, as well as a 39 year veteran of the force, the death of George Floyd in Minnesota has left me appalled, dis-gusted and disillusioned. I strongly condemn the actions of this former police officer and his colleagues as they demonstrated the very worst actions of not only a police officer, but also as a human being. These officers lost sight of their mission to protect and service the public in the most disrespectful and horrific manner. Their actions have left all professional law enforcement officers angry and disheartened. 

My department embraces a professional approach to law enforcement, emphasizing superior service, community policing and impartial enforcement of all laws and regulations. The police officers of my de-partment handle themselves professionally and treat each member of our community with respect and consideration regardless of the situation. They have worked extremely hard through their community po-licing efforts to develop a rapport with the students, faculty and staff of QCC.  Their jobs just became much more difficult because of the incredulous nature of the actions that lead to the death of George Floyd. 

Law enforcement professionals must now work together to continue to do their work while rebuilding trust with the communities that they serve.