Dear James Madison Community:
I wanted to communicate briefly with you in the aftermath of President Simon’s announcement of her resignation. I have by accident of my schedule watched most of this from afar in India, through major media outlets such as the New York Times, CNN, and ESPN. What I saw in our university’s response to the survivor statements in court from senior MSU spokespeople and leaders frankly made me ashamed. We are so much better than this, so much more dedicated to fundamental human and humane values, than these words conveyed.
Our first thoughts should be with those survivors and of their courage. They are individually and collectively the human and moral polestar, and hearing their words is the only way to find our way back to who we are and should be.
I wanted to say also that I am proud that Madison faculty and students have been at the center of raising the issue of our values and our institutional response. Their words, in statements and quoted in the newspaper and elsewhere, reflected more accurately and boldly what it means to be engaged and responsible human beings and members of our university community.
There must and will be changes for the university as we move forward. The sentencing of an evil man and a president’s resignation do not set things right, but only begin a process that has to align our everyday practices to healing, institutional reforms, and further changes of personnel and practice.
Sherman W. Garnett
Dean, James Madison College