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October 29, 2018

A Message from Lehman College President José Luis Cruz
Statement on Recent Acts of Terror and Violence

Dear Colleagues:

Last month at Convocation, I acknowledged my sadness, indignation, and anxiety in grappling with the national trauma and turmoil we are experiencing. Back then, I expressed my alarm over the substandard disaster recovery in Puerto Rico, an immigration policy that normalizes the separation of children from parents, the rampant fearmongering of otherness employed for political gain, and more.

Within a few short weeks, we have had to face an escalating series of fresh outrages, both sad and terrifying—pipe bombs mailed to elected leaders and others, continuing racial violence and unapologetic acts of bigotry, street brawls incited by nationalist thugs—all culminating in the murder of 11 individuals in a synagogue this weekend in Pittsburgh.

This latest tragic act of domestic terrorism carries great meaning to our community in the Bronx and the world at-large. More than ever, we must strengthen our resolve and work together, with greater diligence, and tirelessly, toward a more inclusive future for all of us. That’s the idea that stands paramount amid the anguish and grief. The inhuman hatred and delusional acceptance of bigoted untruths that inspired this venal act of domestic terrorism cannot—will not—become the new normal.

Our country is in crisis, and we are divided in so many ways, including in our acknowledgement of what causes our divisions, our hatreds, and our fears. Ignoring the peril we are in will simply hasten the erosion of our ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice.

So, we must act now. We must hold our elected leaders and captains of industry to the absolute highest standards of human decency and compassion. We must understand our personal responsibility to act with kindness and respect. And we must remain committed to our roles as educators, advocates and activists, knowing that our voices and efforts, together, can vanquish the darkness that now threatens us.

Indeed, on the occasion that our College was dedicated to his memory, Herbert H. Lehman was described as “a peaceful [but] militant fighter against the injustices which demeaned man… a courageous statesman, who welcomed dissent, who challenged the existing order, but who at all times was steadfast [in] his devotion to the rule of reason… a leader who believed that an educated generation was the true hope not only of a free America but a free world.”

The Governor, it has been noted, never compromised his conscience. And we, the Lehman College campus community, must never compromise our mission.



Previous messages from President Cruz can be found here.