Editor’s Note: Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich issued this letter to the college community to address concerns in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
By MARGARET DRUGOVICH • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Simply occupying the office of the college presidency does not give me the right to presume that I know how every member of our community thinks or feels. We do not all agree on politics, culture or even the meaning of words. The very nature of an academic community begs us to question and debate every thought, every statement, and every idea that takes flight.
But there are some ideas that stand clearly apart from all others. When it comes to human decency, justice, and fairness, there is no room for equivocation.
And so I write to every member of our Hartwick Community to say to all who will listen that we condemn the murder of George Floyd. There is no room for bias-fueled hatred at Hartwick. At Hartwick, we stand with all who seek justice for Mr. Floyd’s death.
It is our responsibility to eliminate the social, health and economic inequities that allow bias-fueled hate to continue. We must stare into the truth that these inequities result in pain for both individuals and our society as a whole. There is no benefit to any one of us if others are treated with less respect, care, compassion, or opportunity and more prejudice, mistrust, anger and cruelty. It is easy to say the words “Black Lives Matter.”
Each of us must act in a way that makes it clear that Black lives do matter. Each of us must act in a way that makes it clear that every life matters.
In my video message on May 31 I spoke to our students about how important it is to get an education that will open doors to spaces of influence so that we can make the change that is so overdue. I hope that my message planted the seed of hope that this madness does not need to continue. Education certainly is not the full answer, nor is it the only answer, but it is one path to a more just future.
I am a white woman who has worked hard to move to a place of relative privilege, but I have also been allowed the opportunity to do so. I cannot claim to fully appreciate the depth of rage and anguish of a woman of color who has been deprived of this same opportunity. I cannot know what it is like to be a black man who fears for his life when he leaves his home.
But I do understand the fear that comes with the inability to breath. If you are angry, hurt, frustrated and afraid, please know that you are not alone. We do care about you. And we will defend and protect your right to live without fear.
We will soon organize a forum for our community to discuss what we have learned from this tragedy and how we can turn that learning into meaningful action. I hope that you will participate.