A Message from President Hass Regarding the Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

Rhodes College President Marjorie Hass sent the following statement to students, faculty, and staff members regarding the insurrection at the United States Capitol:

Dear Students and Colleagues,

I join in the national spirit of reflection and resolve as we respond to the violent insurrection that occurred yesterday at what is perhaps our country’s most sacred building and most prominent symbol of democracy. 

My initial response was visceral. Horror. Fear. Shame that we collectively let it get this far. Anger at those who supported and allowed it to happen. Grief. I gathered my children. I took comfort in the words of my Rabbi. I prayed.

This morning, I awoke with a more organized sense of hope and resolve. At Rhodes, we must do the work for which we are trained: using our intellects and our disciplinary and inter-disciplinary knowledge to accurately and honestly name, analyze and interpret these events. We must seek and speak the truth where we find it. The importance of this work—the way scholarship and research matter for our democratic way of life and for our health and well-being—has been made achingly visible by the events of the past 24 hours and the pandemic in which we continue to live. My commitment to you and to our mission has never been stronger.

Facts matter. Truth matters. Education matters. Virtue and values matter as well. We can honor the courage of those who stand for principle over political expediency. We can admire the quick-thinking congressional aides whose first thought was to preserve the ballots. We can applaud the professionalism of those who kept our senators and representatives safe from harm. We can keep an eye out for integrity and work to develop it within our own hearts. This too is part of the Rhodes mission and the foundation for our campus Honor Code and our commitment to graduating students who possess “a life-long passion for learning, a compassion for others, and the ability to translate academic study and personal concern into effective leadership and action in their communities and the world.” 

This is a moment in which we must visibly stand in the service of our country. Every lover of democracy, every American patriot, must affirm clearly what has been affirmed and re-affirmed by court after court in multiple jurisdictions, by Republicans and Democrats alike, by those in closest possession of the facts and the evidence: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won this election fairly. They won the popular vote decisively and with a record number of votes. They won the electoral college vote decisively as well. More Americans voted for them than for their opponents. 

Democracy demands the recognition of these facts and a peaceful transition of power. It demands as well that we remain engaged as citizens—advocating for the policies and candidates in which we believe, debating the path forward, and voting our conscience. 

You are in my mind and heart.