The following is a message from Texas Wesleyan University President Frederick G. Slabach.
Equal Justice Under Law
These words are carved in stone above the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court as an expression of this nation’s commitment to its people.
George Floyd of Minneapolis, Atatiana Jefferson of Fort Worth, and many more people of color lost their lives through senseless acts of violence at the hands of the very system pledged to provide equal justice.
As we all watched the video of George Floyd’s death last week with revulsion and horror, our nation cried out with anger and shame. We recognize that members of our own community have been deeply affected and are in pain.
To our students, faculty and staff of color, know that your university stands with you. We share in your grief and frustration. We denounce racism in all its forms – individual and systemic.
The response to this horror requires leadership and a commitment to anti-racism.
Our mission at Texas Wesleyan University is “to develop students to their full potential as individuals and as members of the world community.” In other words, our mission is to develop leaders. Leaders who can make honest assessments about the state of our nation. Leaders whose empathy is derived from grappling with their own challenges and suffering—empathy that can nurture common bonds with those in pain within our diverse communities. Leaders who develop strength both from objective truth and moral character development -- or, as expressed in the university motto on our seal: Scientia Pietasque Vitalis -- Knowledge and Vital Piety. Objective and moral truth. Exercise leadership. Don’t look around for someone in an official position. Exercise leadership in whatever sphere you are able.
Scientia – educate yourself formally and informally. Learn more about racism: in our curriculum -- natural and social sciences, fine arts, literature, business, education, and the health professions -- all have much to teach us. Learn not only about systemic racism, but how to identify and address our own biases. The university has offered diversity and inclusion programs and we encourage you to join in those programs in the future.
Pietasque Vitalis -- reach out to those affected and offer genuine empathy and support. Use that empathy to build common cause among diverse communities to create a culture of both equality and equity for all.
Four years ago, I spoke to the university community about the relevance of our mission. You can read my remarks on our website. The current crisis calls for us to redouble our efforts and make real the promise of our purpose.
Frederick G. Slabach
Texas Wesleyan University