Violence at the U.S. Capitol

Like many of you, I found myself affixed to the television as a violent mob overtook the U.S. Capitol to undermine our nation's basic democratic principles on January 6, 2021. I join our university's president and dean of students in the utmost condemnation of those actions. Through initiatives like Temple Votes, the Division of Student Affairs has taken an active role in engaging students and staff in the nonpartisan democratic process, including voter registration, education, and participation. We witnessed the antithesis of those practices and a direct attack on civic engagement under the guise of patriotism. The violence we saw on Capitol Hill was not protesting but an insurrection.

Echoing the words of our dean of students, "So many students were engaged in the November elections, despite all the hardships you have faced during the Fall semester. You also peacefully participated in protests and rallies throughout 2020, during which participants were met with very different levels of force than what took place yesterday. We understand that many of you are feeling frustrated, angry, and disrespected. We hope that you will continue to see the value in demonstrating and advocating peacefully, despite the deeply troubling events that took place yesterday."

I share your anger, pain, and frustration. Amplifying this pain, we witnessed the differential treatment and unequal application of justice for a privileged group in real-time. Peaceful protestors advocating for American citizens' rights throughout the summer faced greater force and resistance than was on display at the Capitol. Despite these despicable acts, I take solace in knowing the democratic process continued late into the night, and the election results became duly certified. The resolve of our civic leaders is admirable and can be an example to us all. Through our continued involvement and commitment, the peaceful discourse of the democratic process will endure and the needed systemic changes throughout our nation can truly begin. Within the Division of Student Affairs, we will continue to create and sustain environments for students to speak loudly in their support of change and participate in our nation's foundational processes.

We are committed to strengthening you, as you strengthen our nation. Please take care of each other and support each other.

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Theresa A. Powell, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

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