The following message was sent to all members of the Butler community in response to the recent U.S. presidential election.
Dear Butler Community,
An interesting aspect of being a university president is the need to stay politically neutral, which is important when striving to support and facilitate an environment of open dialogue and critical inquiry. As such, my words today are not politically motivated. But as president of this particular university, Butler University, I feel compelled to share some words of support, no different than I have in my family role over the past couple of days.
As for the political dimension, I suggest we take our cues from those who have risen above the fray after months of negative political discourse: it’s now time to accept the winners and work together moving forward.
My greater concern is with the destructive nature of the political battles that have just occurred, especially words of hatred, racism, and misogyny—and the understandable fears among many people now that the election is over.
As a father, I have found myself reminding my daughters of our own family values and my advice to not let destruction and fear detract us from a lifetime of lessons promoting respect, honesty, and love.
I am aware that within our Butler community there are many who feel anxiety, fear, anger, and vulnerability. So my message is the same to you: keep in mind the values inherent in the highest aspirations of our great nation. Remember that Butler is an institution where all people are welcomed and valued—regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or political beliefs. Ours is a community of inclusivity that is as old as the University itself.
That said, I want to acknowledge that we at Butler University continue to have space to grow around our own diversity and inclusivity on campus—something that we continue to strive for as faculty, staff, and students. Good, caring work is being done across campus by individuals and groups, for example, the student Diversity Education & Advocacy Committee, which leads Discussions in the Diversity Center, as well as institutional efforts such as the Diversity Council. We are committed to improving our institution and our community in these areas.
In our classrooms and in areas such as residence halls, the Diversity Center, and the Center for Faith and Vocation, there will be many opportunities for dialogue, processing, and healing in the coming days and weeks. I encourage you to participate in these conversations. Butler also offers counseling services to all students, and I encourage you to take advantage of these outstanding services.
My message today is the same one I have underscored with my family: you are valued, loved, and respected.
James M. Danko
President, Butler University