As we hit the peak of final exams, I just wanted to send a brief note of encouragement and good wishes. The finish line for an eventful academic year is near, Commencement just two weeks away, and I along with so many others are cheering for you to finish strong. I am so proud of our students, and all they contribute to this place, and it is a great joy to see all of you moving forward toward your goals.
Longwood is an open, supporting and civil place. Looking back over this year, against the backdrop of such a divisive time in our country, I know those values have been challenged by a small handful of people in our community. Even these last few days I’ve been deeply saddened to hear of instances of students being subjected to hateful and despicable language. These episodes dishonor our values – and have prompted a forceful response from Student Affairs and the Student Conduct and Integrity office.
When such things have happened before, I have always been proud to see Longwood stand up to demonstrate what our core values really are -- supporting one another, ensuring those who try to divide us will not be allowed to define us, and showing that they are a tiny exception to the rule of what this place is truly about. While we cannot rid the world of rudeness or hate, we can and always will make clear they aren’t welcome here.
When I think back on this year and its challenges, it grieves me and angers me that people in our community have been subjected to such treatment. But I hope those students will find reassurance in seeing how deeply Longwood as a whole stands with them. Let us recommit ourselves to demonstrating that to be true.
Whether you are soon to graduate, or still in the early stages of your Longwood journey, know that this place has your back. I and many others are cheering you on this week and through whatever lies ahead. Good luck and best wishes.