On pandemics and injustice

New College President Donal O'Shea.
New College President Donal O’Shea

Our hearts go out to the family of George Floyd. And we join in the anger and frustration of being a part of a society that loudly celebrates equality, yet tolerates oppression and injustice, whether it be the violent death of an unarmed man, or the absence of access to health care or quality education because of skin color or economic class.

This pandemic and its disproportionate effect on our black and brown brothers and sisters have exposed the results of our legacy of racism and the cracks in our society.  To borrow the words of Bob Dylan’s Canadian counterpart, the late Leonard Cohen, we can make sure that those cracks let the light get in.

As members of an educational institution charged with preparing students for lives of great achievement, we owe it to ourselves, our students and the state to model the society that we seek to inhabit, and to equip ourselves and our students with the intellectual tools to recognize and combat the deep systemic racism in our society.

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