Message from the President / Black Lives Matter
To: Paul Smith’s College students, faculty and staff
Delivered: June 1, 2020
Dear Paul Smith’s community,
Last Monday was Memorial Day, a time for Americans to honor and respect those who have died while serving our country. On that day, at the same time many of us were reflecting on the sacrifices of others, a deadly conflict within the borders of this country raged on. Two separate instances – the false accusation of Christian Cooper and the public death of George Floyd – are visible examples of the injustices frequently faced by people of color who are simply attempting to live their lives.
Like so many of you, I am heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the systematic racial bias that continues to exist in so many areas of our country. This is on top of the disproportionate suffering that COVID-19 and the recent economic issues have placed on people of color.
As a college community, we have often said that racism and other forms of discrimination and bias have no place on our campus. These are core values of Paul Smith’s College. In the coming months our country and community will work through some very tough and deep-seeded issues. On our campus, we will do the same. But we will do it with respect and civility. That is what our college is all about. This will not be easy, but our community has demonstrated time and time again that we are committed to the respect and well-being of all.
First and foremost, we must recognize the pain that is being felt by those individual students, faculty and staff members who are affected by these latest incidents. This includes brown and black people who endure a pattern of aggression directed at themselves, their families and friends. This includes the families of police officers who act with integrity to earn public trust. And, it includes people from all walks of life who feel a sense of despair at the depth of this persistent problem in our society. I urge us to treat each other with compassion.
We at Paul Smith’s have an opportunity to learn from this moment, and to provide leadership. The goal “to educate, research and advocate on issues that improve our planet and the lives of the people that inhabit it” is central to our mission. We have an imperative to nurture the health and security of all people associated with PSC. Our students, faculty and staff have the right to expect a safe and rewarding environment. Achieving this will take open minds and a willingness to understand many diverse points of view.
As our dialogue and actions around these topics continue, please channel your thoughts productively. We will be creating forums to enable this. No matter how we approach the discussion, the emergence of misunderstandings, hurtfulness, anger and disagreement are inevitable. Let’s all please do everything possible to maintain civility. I will remind everyone that tolerance and acceptance are core PSC values. Individuals who betray these values will not be welcomed as a part of our community.
Finally, I ask each of you to look inward and ask yourselves how you can contribute to achieving the thriving environment we envision for Paul Smith’s. As challenging as it can be, this may mean acknowledging our own biases and working to overcome them. Your contribution might also be a more vocal and active commitment to social justice. Through sensitivity and a deliberate course of action we will be able to rise up and make PSC a welcoming place for all. Thank you so much for your commitment to our community and our college.
Dr. Cathy S. Dove, President
Abigail Fontaine, RN, BSN, Director
Housing & Residence Life
Lou Kaminski, Director
Holly Parker, Director
Teresa Gay, Compliance Coordinator