Message from the Executive Director concerning the events of 12 and 13 August 2017
Dear Friends and Members of the Rare Book School Community,
We are most grateful for the thoughtful messages of concern and support that many have sent. I am happy to be able to assure you that all of our RBS staff and their families are safe.
Nonetheless, we are disgusted and saddened that such hatred and violence should come to our University and to Charlottesville. We mourn the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer and Virginia State Troopers Berke Bates and Jay Cullen, and we condole with their families in their sudden and terrible loss. We thank those in the Charlottesville community who bravely protected the safety of local citizens, including some members of our staff, and who cared for those who were injured.
While we roundly condemn the actions of those promoting racism and viciousness, we do not believe that condemnation is enough.
Accordingly, be assured of our ongoing and redoubled resolve that Rare Book School will continue actively to promote diversity—and to create inclusive community here at RBS, on Grounds at UVA and at our partner institutions, and, to the best of our ability, in the larger world.
Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in the belief that the primary purpose of education is to equip individuals for responsible citizenship. The events of this past weekend starkly emphasize the terrible consequences of the failure to apprehend the truths of history that broaden human perspectives and deepen humane sympathies.
Rare Book School will continue to be steadfast in our mission to strengthen our students’ expertise and foster their commitment to understanding, caring for, and communicating the great legacy that has been given to us—and that we must, in turn, pass on to the succeeding generations. We firmly believe that the richness and diversity of our collective human heritage can help make our communities large-hearted and well-equipped to live wisely now, and help shape a more hopeful and virtuous future in the days to come.
Michael F. Suarez, S.J.