Interim President's Message - Recent Events at U.S. Capitol
Dear Faculty & Staff,
As witnessed during Wednesday's events in Washington D.C., the New Year is off to a precarious start at best.
Like many of you, I sat in disbelief watching things unfold in the Capitol and remain a bit shaken by the scenes shown on the news. I know our students are just as affected if not more so. These are indeed confusing times, and it is imperative that faculty and staff stay strong for our Gators.
As an institution of higher learning, we are committed to the preservation of democracy and to the system of shared values that empowers all persons to take part in the process of civil discourse that makes this country great.
So, I encourage you to be there for those students whom you mentor on a daily basis or those former pupils with whom you remain in contact. Serve as a beacon of democracy and a listening board for their concerns and encourage them to remain optimistic for better days ahead. That is easier said than done, but considering the academic and professional expertise on our campus, I am confident that we can provide a voice of reason amidst the chaos.
Please remember, these are students who are still struggling with the ongoing pandemic. With restrictions tightening on local businesses, Wednesday's incident is yet another source of anxiety for them. Implore them to remain calm and to focus on the semester ahead of them.
UHD has long been a beacon of social justice within our region, and we encourage community and civic engagement. The institution, however, disavows violence and illegal actions. The events that transpired on Wednesday contradict the University's values and complicate our political process.
Let's use our role in the Greater Houston Community to set the example for both our students and Houstonians. Apply your knowledge and skills to facilitate positive change during these difficult times. Work with our students to facilitate productive dialogues on what is happening in our world and encourage them to address such challenges using their intellectual capital.
The semester is just a few short days away, but all of us remain connected and close, though virtually. Let's be there for our students … and each other ... to ensure Spring 2021 gets off to a successful start.
Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D.
University of Houston-Downtown