Monday, Nov. 14, 2016
To the VCU Community:
In recent days, some members of our community have expressed their distress and frustrations over the recent election by participating in protests and demonstrations – most of which have been peaceful and appropriate. However, a small number of rallies have resulted in the defacing or destruction of both university and city property and have endangered the lives of protestors and motorists. While strong feelings are valid, vandalism and violence are not acceptable behaviors and negatively impact our university community and our city.
I also want to remind our community that expression of opinions aimed in a hateful manner at specific people can become harassment that is deeply harmful to members of our community. Negative targeting activities have no place at a university where tolerance, productive dialogue and the open exchange of ideas are core tenets.
One of the fundamental purposes of higher education is to provide the opportunity for members of our community to find their voice in positive and productive ways, including peaceful activism, volunteerism and community service, philanthropic support for causes about which you feel strongly, or simply by listening to and learning from one another.
VCU will always strive to be a catalyst for good in Richmond and our world. I appreciate the ways you embrace this commitment.
Michael Rao, Ph.D.
VCU and VCU Health