Dear members of the Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and Ohio State Newark community,
Similar, we are certain, to many of you, we are deeply saddened and angered by the deaths of African Americans such as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others. It is a struggle to adequately express how events like these, the latest in a string of tragic examples of injustice in our society, strike at the fabric of humanity, the nation and our COTC and Ohio State Newark missions.
While words are woefully inadequate and we find it difficult to find the right ones, we are moved to write to our community because remaining silent is not an option.
We must do better.
We find ourselves during these times leaning on our institutions’ core commitments more than ever. Our campus community is beautifully diverse, inclusive, welcoming and grounded in the principles of respect for one another and the human dignity of all. These values are hard-earned and require constant attention and nurturing. We must stand up daily to maintain them. We are not perfect, but our campus community has exhibited a strong and stable commitment to citizenship for a just world, something the broader world desperately needs right now. And on the strength of our commitment to that virtue, we must lead.
COTC and Ohio State Newark stand with victims of the most flagrant abuses of power and privilege as well as those marginalized by centuries of systematic discrimination. Additionally, we stand for the countless men and women who serve honorably and respectfully as first-responders. The actions of some must not overshadow the courage and conviction the majority of police officers exhibit as they demonstrate their true commitment to serve each member of our communities equally. Our power lies in education. We must continue to foster critical dialogue and help our society move forward. To this end, we will work with our Office of Student Life, COTC’s Division of Academic Affairs, Ohio State Newark’s Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and several student organizations to coordinate a Courageous Conversation initiative. We are tasked with a deep responsibility to be a positive force to help our campus and larger communities listen, learn, understand and heal during this time.
Today, we call on our students, faculty, staff and alumni to reaffirm their personal commitment to accepting social responsibility, to fostering peace and nonviolence, striving for equality, and leading toward meaningful change through collaborative service.
Thank you to each of you for your many gifts and willingness to share them for the greater good.
John M. Berry, PhD
Central Ohio Technical College
William L. MacDonald, PhD
Dean and Director
The Ohio State University at Newark
COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.