UNF President tells students to “Take Action” against violence

UNF President John Delaney. Photo by Lili Weinstein

UNF President John Delaney released an email on Aug. 22 to all students, faculty and staff regarding recent protests and counter-protests such as Charlottesville and Boston.

In the email, Delaney recognized the importance of freedom of speech, but also stated that he can’t ignore the violence that has started to arise across the country. He encouraged that our response as a university should be one of nonviolence and peace. Delaney gave examples of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, the very same figures whose statues are in UNF’s Peace Plaza, as people we should look up to and take advice from.

Delaney addressed students directly by stating that they should take classes like “Sex, Race and Social Class: A Sociological Examination of Culture and Diversity,” and “The African Diaspora” or to join clubs like the Black Student Union, the UNF Pride Club, or the College Republican/Democrat clubs to encourage dialogue and learning.

He encouraged people to engage in discussions and to not shun those with opposing opinions. Research opinions from both sides and ask tough questions. He stated that he believed that this is the only way to evoke positive change.

“As a university, we have a responsibility when we see these clashes,” Delaney stated. “We have a responsibility to engage in open dialogue on the roots of these conflicts; to discover the lessons the 20th and 21st centuries have to offer us about violent and nonviolent methods of conflict resolution; to teach our history in its unvarnished truth, as best we can understand it; to infuse these issues throughout our curricula; and finally, to make our campus a place where differences are understood and, when appropriate, celebrated.”

Delaney closed the email with a call to action for everyone to go out and educate themselves and to be a voice of change.

“Remember, when the next crisis appears in the headlines you need to ask yourself ‘What have I been doing to help resolve the underlying problems?’ Take action now.”



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