Brenau is Your Community

Dear Friends,

None of us can predict what the future holds. This post-election period has been a time of uncertainty and, in some specific situations around the United States, a time when people have used offensive and threatening speech or actions. Of course, you know such behavior is never acceptable anywhere, and it is not tolerated at Brenau. We need to participate in conversations and dialog to get past our own inherent biases and misconceptions. Conversation, not Confrontation!

I write this short and specific note with two purposes: 1) to re-emphasize Brenau’s commitment to fairness, freedom of expression, equality, respect, tolerance, multiculturalism and providing a loving and safe environment; and 2) to reiterate that Brenau does not tolerate threatening or hateful actions or speech. The university will deal with any such actions quickly and with a sense of justice.

One additional thought: This past election seems to have generated more energy after the results are in than it did during the run-up to Election Day. Of course, some of this new energy is due to the fact that the winner is unacceptable to a large group of citizens and permanent residents. Conversely, voters who feel excluded from the political process and are eager for change generate some of the energy as well. Neither of these reasons is sufficient to become belligerent or to disregard the rights of others as you protest.

Now is a great time to begin your civic service. Whether your candidate won or lost, she or he will need your involvement in government. You should establish the habit of speaking out on civic and civil affairs throughout your lives, not just during the presidential campaign. Get involved.

Why not take the advice of First Lady Michelle Obama and Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan: Volunteer! Work toward a positive result for the next election in which you have a personal interest. Regardless of any opposition efforts to quiet your voice, ignore them. Work around them. Get your person elected!

I suggest the following strategy for folks who are concerned that the president-elect has the wrong position on certain policies that may adversely affect you or our society. Consider this path: 1) Respectfully express to him and his team your specific concern with his policy positions through emails, tweets, letters, petitions, etc. 2) Give him a chance to act on a wide range of policy issues and see if his performance is more appropriate than you previously thought; 3) If not, then resist his positions through contacting your congressional representatives in large numbers. Join the grassroots groups who peacefully and forcefully speak against those policies. Work in the next election cycle, two years from now, to elect representatives who will stand up for your beliefs. Organization with good intent and good strategy leads toward successful results.

Remember: Conversation, not Confrontation.

Ed Schrader