Dear Campus Community,
I write with a heavy heart, grieving the recent death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Mr. Floyd’s senseless death, along with the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery remind us of the persistent violence perpetrated upon people of color in the United States, and particularly upon African Americans.
Dakota Wesleyan University was founded over 135 years ago by Methodist pioneers dedicated to an education without barriers, an education for those who might not otherwise have such an opportunity. Early in its history, DWU welcomed women and men of color to the university and educated them for service in countless noble professions.
As a United Methodist Community of faith committed to diversity and inclusion, we reaffirm our conviction that racism has no place — anywhere. Our Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society.
During these challenging times, may we look to our founder John Wesley, who lived through uncertain times himself — both in his own personal life and in the broader world of his time. Despite the challenges of his life and his world, his trust in God remained strong, as did his belief that we are called to be people of action and love in our world: "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."
It is important that we recognize that our university and the community of Mitchell are not unaffected by this issue. We must all actively join together to address the conditions that have led us to this place. We must be prepared to wrestle with the challenge of pervasive and systemic inequalities in our society recognizing that simply making a statement, albeit one of solidarity with the oppressed, almost assuredly falls short of the actions that will be necessary to foster long-term change. Addressing these challenges will take cooperation, patience, empathy, perseverance and a commitment to walking alongside one another.
These are, most assuredly, uncertain and challenging times. May we remain hopeful, and, in keeping with our faith and our Methodist tradition, pray as a University community for justice, for peace, for safety, and for comfort for the families who are aggrieved, suffering and in turmoil. And may we commit to being a part of the critical action that will be required to change our collective future.
With prayers for peace,
President Amy Novak