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President Davis-Blake’s Message After the Tragedies in Pennsylvania and Kentucky
Members of the Bentley Community,
I’ve spent much of today and this past weekend struggling to find the right words to describe the heartache I’ve felt watching news unfold in the wake of two tragic events in our country in recent days – the fatal shooting of 11 people in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and of two people at a Kentucky grocery store who were killed after the gunman tried unsuccessfully to enter The First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and communities who were forever changed by these awful and senseless acts.
I began my career teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, just a few blocks from the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh in which the synagogue is located, so Saturday’s shooting struck home for me. Both crimes, along with the recent mailing of more than a dozen pipe bombs to political figures and journalists, appear to have been motivated by a blind hatred of entire groups of people.
The divisions in our country run deep. But we must never let differences of opinion or background lead to violence.
At Bentley and in higher education, we pride ourselves on valuing differences of opinion and welcoming those from different backgrounds. I urge all of us in this time of national conflict and division to redouble our efforts to engage in thoughtful, respectful conversation even with those with whom we disagree – especially with those with whom we disagree.
If you would like to talk with anyone about these issues or about your reactions to recent events, please contact Bentley’s Spiritual Life Center at GA_Spiritual_Life@bentley.edu or 781-891-2418. You can also call the Counseling Center at 781-891-2274.
This week, at the same time that we extend support, hope and healing to those in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, I ask that we extend tolerance and an open mind to those in our own communities who hold different political views, belong to different groups or come from different backgrounds.
Listen. Discuss. Learn from each other. And care for one another.
Alison Davis-Blake, the former business school dean at the Universities of Michigan and Minnesota, was inaugurated as the eighth president of Bentley University in a ceremony attended by students, faculty, staff, alumni and other members of the extended Bentley community.