Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:
As we approach the conclusion of our fall semester, I wish to take a moment to reaffirm a key aspect of our University’s mission: to educate our students to live generously in service to others. Our mission is animated by our Catholic and Jesuit tradition—a tradition that affirms the inherent dignity of each of us, asking us to love and respect every person and come together in solidarity with all those marginalized or in need.
Over the past several weeks, I have spent time with students, faculty, and staff from across our community. Many of them have shared with me that they feel vulnerable and unsure about their futures, or the futures of close friends and family. As previously reported by our Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief of Police, bias-related incidents have occurred at our University and at institutions throughout our country.
Earlier this month, in his apostolic letter Misericordia et misera, Pope Francis called each of us—as members of a global community—to “promote a culture of mercy…in which no one looks at another with indifference or turns away from the suffering of our brothers and sisters.”
As a community animated by this culture of mercy, I wish to reaffirm the following:
- We will continue to engage in constructive dialogue, maintain our commitment to freedom of speech, and hold each other to the very highest standards of civility and respect;
- We will continue to support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), and we will protect our undocumented students to the fullest extent of the law. As part of this commitment, I recently joined other college and university presidents in signing the “Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students”;
- We will continue to support all of our students, faculty, and staff members and stand against discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, political affiliation, disability, religion, and other protected characteristics; and
- We will continue to honor our commitment to preserving the religious freedoms on which our University and our nation were founded.
As we prepare for the new year ahead, I wish to encourage each of us to recommit ourselves to supporting one another—to working together to do all that we can to ensure that our community is a place of deep care for each person, especially those who feel most vulnerable. In this moment, we remain dedicated to harnessing the resources of our University to pursue and promote the common good—a good we can create together that we cannot achieve alone.
You have my very best wishes.
John J. DeGioia