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Deborah A. Freund’s message for gathering 9/11/01
To all Students, Faculty and Staff,
I join the Chancellor in expressing my personal outrage and the collective indignation of our community at the events of this morning in New York, Washington, Pittsburgh and elsewhere around the country.
To those students, faculty and staff who are directly affected by these tragedies, you have all of our deepest sympathy, support, and prayers in this time of loss and uncertainty.
If there ever was a time to come together as a community of intellectuals to search for truth and understanding, now is the time.
We have decided that our first obligation is to provide support and counseling to those in need. Counselors are available should you need to talk to someone in the residence and dining halls tonight.
We have also decided to hold classes-not to forge ahead with academic material per se, or to ignore the needs of those among us who are suffering the in the face of this tragedy, but to reinforce our belief that we must come together as a community in times of great trouble.
I believe that the safest and most productive place for our students is in the classroom, learning and sharing, thinking critically about all that we are all experiencing as a nation. I have urged our faculty to use this moment as an opportunity for sustained reflection and discourse–to provide a space to listen and learn from each other-and to embrace our responsibility as intellectuals during this time of crises.
This is a university that cares about all of its members. We realize that students, faculty and staff may have personal matters to deal with during these time.
I have instructed all of our faculty and deans to be understanding of the needs of students experiencing loss and to allow students to make up any work during a period of excused absence over the next few days.
I have also instructed our academic support services to provide extra assistance and tutoring to those students who may be adversely affected by the tragic events of today.
Together, I know that we will persevere.
The outrage, pain and loss that many members of our community are feeling are palpable to us all, for we at Syracuse University have experienced our share of loss through the years from cowardly acts of this nature.
We have survived not by lashing out in hate and frustration, but by honoring and respecting the memory of those lost.
We have survived by bringing intellectual energy to bear on great moral problems of the day.
And we have survived by always revitalizing our commitment to principles of truth and justice in the face of evil.
We know that everyone is hurting at some level. It is important to acknowledge it; to use the resources that are available to you to talk to someone; to share your fears and tears and indeed even the outrage that many of you have in your hearts.
But let us also remember that we are one community and nation.
Let us not to allow hatred to prevail, or anger to overtake our hearts.
I strongly urge you to have no preconceptions about who is responsible for the events of the day. We will know soon enough of the individuals who are responsible for these cowardly acts, but it is critical that we not unfairly judge any among us.
In these difficult days ahead, let us commit ourselves to a higher understanding of tolerance, and patience.
Let us remember to not lash out as we bring wisdom to bear.
Times like these make us think about the course our lives and all of the things that we have experienced along the way.
It was the great poet Aeschylus, who wrote,
” In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
Let’s us all seek wisdom together, as we support all of our university friends in need.