Dear students, faculty and staff:

Like Americans everywhere, I am appalled by the events that took place yesterday when a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to interfere with the electoral process. I join with leaders of both parties in denouncing the perpetrators of these events. As so many have articulated, this is America. This is not who we are.

The seal of our University carries the motto Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis — “The cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy.” Intellectual inquiry, rational discourse, critical thinking; as yesterday’s events showed, these are not abstract academic concepts but vital capabilities at the foundation of a democratic society. As our nation seeks new equilibrium in challenging times, we will continue our work of cultivating minds with a heightened sense of its importance.

The American form of government is resilient because its people respect and uphold its fundamental tenets. As Comets, we have a duty to support our democratic institutions. More importantly, as we face challenges unprecedented in our country’s history, we have a duty to support one another. I hope you and your loved ones stay safe.

Richard C. Benson signature
Richard C. Benson
Eugene McDermott Distinguished University Chair of Leadership