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A Difficult Week

Jan. 28, 2023

Dear Bentley Community,

This has been a challenging week for our country. Last night, our country was faced with a startling instance of police brutality when video was released of five officers beating Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, which led to his death. The officers have been fired and charged with murder, but the release of the hard-to-watch video has added an additional layer of pain, shock and understandable angst. The video has sparked new protests and unrest as the country tries to process this unimaginable act of violence stemming from what should have been a simple traffic stop.

Last weekend, 11 Asian Americans were killed in an attack on a dance studio of revelers celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California. Two days later, another shooting in what is suspected as an incident of workplace violence occurred outside San Francisco in Half Moon Bay, claiming seven lives. And within hours, another shooting killed one and injured several others in nearby Oakland.

Like many of you, I am both horrified and perplexed by this most recent spate of violence and by the violence which remains so stubbornly persistent across our society. For me, the death of Tyre Nichols in particular is a painful reminder of the history of violence against Black bodies in this country. More broadly, these episodes reflect Hannah Arendt’s notion of resentment: an existential resentment of other people’s being caused by an intense mix of envy, feelings of humiliation and powerlessness. While my capacity for sense-making here is limited and my heart continues to ache, I find solace in the shared community that so demonstrably defines our university.

We all process tragedies differently. However, it is during these times of pain and uncertainty, when we are most frustrated and angry and grieving, that our presence here for one another matters most. I said recently as I shared the sad news of the passing of one of our students that, regardless of how one feels in a time of deep emotion, you don’t need to navigate this space alone. Please feel free to reach out to a trusted resource on campus: our Student Affairs team is available to support our students at, our Counseling Center is available at (781) 891-2274, and our Spiritual Life team can be reached at or (781) 891-2418. Faculty and staff can access counseling and support through our Employee Assistance Program here.

There will at times be moments of unrest and grief in our time together. But let’s remember that we have the opportunity — and indeed the responsibility — to make a difference in the lives of one another through our compassion, empathy and sensitivity. Let’s make sure that we continue in that tradition as we look ahead this semester.

Most Sincerely,
President Chrite