Statement from President Birx: January 7, 2021

Dear PSU Community,  

Like many of you, I watched yesterday’s storming of the Capitol, while Congress attempted to complete its procedural responsibilities to affirm our next president, astonished by the brash attack on our basic principles of democracy. It’s a day we won’t soon forget nor should we for many reasons. In the process, there were several deaths and we at Plymouth State University mourn the loss of life and are thankful that even greater destruction was avoided. 

As a nation and as individuals, we have much work to do. The factors that have brought us to this painful national chapter are numerous, including the weakening of social unity, the increased siloization of our news sources, and the increased coarseness of discourse. It reminded me though of the important work that each of you do here at PSU. Every day you do the opposite by demonstrating civility and respect for our dialectic process of debate. Your willingness in and outside of the classroom to share different points of view in a manner that is civil and open to feedback is critical if our democracy is to live on. 

Your willingness to ensure that when opinions are put forth they must be built around solid evidence is fundamental to our society and the process of discovery, advancement, and economic security. Our curriculum, which ensures students the opportunity to learn about the historical significance of our unique form of government, is absolutely necessary. In essence, the work we do in terms of providing an integrative liberal arts education for our students is critical to the survival of our democracy. I thank each of you for your role in teaching and modeling the skills essential to preserving civil liberties and producing future leaders in our society who model this collaborative process of debate and discovery. 

What we saw yesterday was the product of an assault on evidence, critical thinking, and the democratic principles that make up our Republic. It is my hope that this will only make us stronger in the long run. We all have a part to play in that and I believe that PSU can be at the forefront of moving us forward to a better tomorrow. Thank you again for all that you do.  

Donald L. Birx