The Importance of Democracy

January 7, 2021

Good afternoon,

Yesterday we witnessed a violent attempt to disrupt our democracy at the U.S. Capitol.

I have joined in solidarity with my fellow Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) presidents in issuing the following statement:

We, the presidents of the Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, condemn in the strongest terms the assault on our democratic processes by the mob that attempted to interfere with yesterday’s Electoral College certification in our nation’s capital. We join with those citizens and civic organizations across the country that call for an end to the rhetoric and violence that have surrounded this otherwise peaceful election.

Violence of any kind is inimical to the principles of democracy upon which this nation was built. The motivations and actions of those who have persisted in denigrating our system of laws are a sad and unfortunate result of tactics that have torn the fabric of our nation.

The president and his adherents bear responsibility for perpetuating false rumors and unsubstantiated facts regarding the election. It is time that the president concede his loss to duly-elected President Biden and allow the smooth and peaceful transition of power, which will be completed on January 20th.

As leaders of institutions dedicated to the promotion of justice and truth, we commit ourselves to working for understanding and reconciliation in the days ahead. We call for a recommitment to the ideals of fairness, justice, racial equity, and inclusion to which our nation aspires today.

As an institution of higher education, we at Saint Peter’s have an obligation to ensure that our students are prepared to participate fully in our democracy and help lead it forward. Now is the time to double down on our civic education. And we are fortunate to have the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership here on campus to help us do so. In light of yesterday’s events, I have charged the Institute with the task of providing us with programming during the spring 2021 semester to educate us and help us to better understand our nation’s institutions and their power as well as the role that each of us can play as informed citizens. Details are forthcoming.

As our leaders in Congress stated last night, we must put our political differences aside, come together and work to restore our wounded nation.

Sincerely,

Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D.