Message to the campus community after the election

November 10, 2016

Dear Alcalá Park Campus Community:

As I watched the results of the U.S. presidential election from Japan while participating in the 2016 Kyoto Prize ceremonies, it became apparent to me that the world is also watching our election results, and specifically, the reaction of U.S. citizens.

Reflecting upon the uncertainty of the current environment and the passion-filled responses of our citizens, I am reminded of the words of Abraham Lincoln in his first inaugural address when, in the face of a very contentious environment, he invoked a call for “the better angels of our nature.”

Today, some people across our nation have found it difficult to channel their "better angels" due to the divisive nature of the campaign. At times the language has felt contrary to the values of civility and inclusion we hold dear on our campus, but we have an opportunity to rise above such rhetoric and live out our values in the days and weeks ahead.

As a Catholic university we must reaffirm our commitment to treat every member of our community with dignity and respect.  We must continue to be Changemakers, to promote social justice and attend to the needs of all, including the marginalized and less fortunate. This is an opportunity for us to lift one another up, to be generous in spirit and to cherish our democracy, even if the results of the election were not what many had hoped. This is a time to live out the values of our mission statement as we redouble our commitment to academic rigor, open dialogue, civility, inclusion, justice, and peace.

Last month before the election, I joined other leaders in higher education, foreign policy, peacebuilding and national security in signing a joint statement urging America’s next president to pursue policies and practices that foster mutual understanding and make our country more welcoming and globally engaged. As a community of Changemakers, our Torero family understands the importance of unity and engaging our local community, and communities around the world, with empathy and compassion.

Today, I ask you to join me in offering prayers for national unity, for our president-elect, and for our other leaders in government so that they act with wisdom, understanding, and a sincere sense of obligation to all of God's creation in the months and years ahead.


James T. Harris III, DEd