Dear Students and Colleagues -
It is hard for me to believe that we are in the last week of April and that next week marks our final week of classes in what has been a strange and challenging, yet also rewarding and reaffirming, year. It has felt a little like a year-long exam week, and this community has passed one test after another. I am grateful for all of you.
I am happy to report that we took another small step for social justice yesterday when I joined the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa and dozens of Catholic Bishops, organizations, and colleges around the country in expressing support for LGBT youth by signing (on behalf of Edgewood College) a statement from the Tyler Clementi Foundation aimed at protecting LGBT youth and denouncing the bullying often directed at them. The statement reads:
“As we see in the Gospels, Jesus Christ taught love, mercy and welcome for all people, especially for those who felt persecuted or marginalized in any way; and the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that LGBTQ people are to be treated with ‘respect, compassion and sensitivity’. All people of goodwill should help, support, and defend LGBTQ youth; who attempt suicide at much higher rates than their straight counterparts; who are often homeless because of families who reject them; who are rejected, bullied and harassed; and who are the target of violent acts at alarming rates.”
This signing came on the heels of last Friday’s LGBTQ Day of Silence, an annual day intended to spread awareness about the effects of the bullying and harassment of LGBTQ+ students. By supporting the statement, we proclaim our opposition to any form of violence, bullying, or harassment directed at LGBTQ people. As our mission clearly states: We embrace and aspire to reflect the rich diversity of the world’s cultures and perspectives. We foster open, caring, thoughtful engagement with one another and an enduring commitment to service, all in an educational community that seeks truth, compassion, justice and partnership. In that vein, I want to make it clear that we oppose any form of violence, bullying, or harassment and will defend any who are rejected, bullied, and harassed or who are the target of violent acts.
On the COVID-19 front, the news is encouraging. Numbers in Wisconsin have been decreasing slightly, and we only have one active case on campus, as of the writing of this message. However, as I have repeated many times, we’re not done yet. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19-including completing the second dose if that’s required—is an important step in Returning to Better this fall.
Our preparations for our on-campus, in-person graduation liturgy and commencement ceremonies on May 15th are continuing. Most graduating students will be picking up their caps, gowns, and tickets next week. I’m grateful to all those who have been working tirelessly to make it happen. Faculty and staff who are planning to assist will be hearing more soon.
There also have been a number of discussions across campus regarding the implementation of Return to Office guidelines for faculty and staff. I want to assure you that College leadership is making thoughtful, meaningful decisions regarding this issue. A message to the faculty and staff dedicated to this topic is forthcoming.
Finally, students: You should have received an email earlier this week from Edgewood Central informing you of the fact that during the Fall 2021 semester, all enrolled students—undergraduate and graduate, part-time and full-time—will be able to apply for the next round of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds from the federal government. We expect that eligible students will receive a minimum of $1,000 to offset costs and hardship brought on by the pandemic. The online application is simple and opens September 15th. You will receive more information when that time approaches.
I wish you well as we move towards the end of this academic year and focus our sights on Returning to Better.
Cor ad cor loquitur