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Statement about violence at the Capitol


Dear JMU Family,

As the university named for the Father of the U.S. Constitution, James Madison University joins institutions and individuals across the country in condemning the violence in our nation’s capital this week and in renewing the call for all of us to recognize our responsibilities to support and sustain our democracy. Higher education has a special role to play in the ongoing work of “We the People,” as we seek to form a “more perfect Union.” The kind of threat to the peaceful transition of power we witnessed this week is a threat to our most fundamental freedoms and to a way of life that we must never take for granted.

We can—and must—be a beacon for our society and the world in which we model what it means to be a community that values civil discourse and debate based on facts, reason, evidence and education. This community is a big tent in which we welcome and encourage the sharing of different perspectives and points of view. By utilizing basic rules of engagement in the classroom, on campus and in our society, we come together to address hard issues and problems. That approach is at the heart of JMU’s educational mission, and it also represents the very essence of democracy. It is our privilege and responsibility to equip students with the knowledge, skills and attributes to participate actively as citizens in this democratic society.

As we start this new year, let us all reconsider our commitment to civic engagement and to each other in the weeks and months ahead. Showing renewed care and concern for our fellow citizens through temperance in our speech and in our actions is a most appropriate response to this week’s violence in Washington, D.C. As Madison himself wrote to a friend in 1827, “Intemperance in politics is bad enough. Intolerance has no excuse.” Every generation must do its part to protect and enhance democracy. This is our time and our moment.

With warm regards,

Jonathan R. Alger
President, James Madison University

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Published: Friday, January 8, 2021

Last Updated: Friday, January 8, 2021

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