Members of the Champaign-Urbana Community,
This year our nation has experienced one of the most divisive elections in modern history. Like many of you, we are trying to understand what the results will mean for our work and how to move forward. At our Board of Governors meeting just two days after the election, we set aside our regular agenda to discuss this in more depth. Here are our thoughts.
We believe that our ability to engage in open debate and discourse about differences in policy, ideology, and methodology is one of the great strengths of our democracy. Sadly, this election has been marked by dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric that has consumed the conversation and produced a damaging environment of fear and distrust. We condemn any language or actions that target and attack specific populations — such attacks are an affront to us all.
The University Y remains committed to leaders of student programs who work tirelessly to address the issues of social justice, environmental protection, global engagement and interfaith dialogue. Those challenges will likely be even greater, based on the positions being expressed by the next administration. It is critical that we stand by students at the Y and provide them with the resources and support that they need for their voices to be heard. We encourage you to read their letter drafted in the aftermath of the election. Now, more than ever, their work is key to preserving the promise of a better tomorrow.
We recognize the legitimate concerns of students and community members regarding their safety and well-being. We renew and reaffirm our commitment at the University Y to serve as a safe, open space for all members of our community free from persecution and hate. We support your right to be who you are and respect your beliefs as part of the rich diversity of our community. Discrimination has no place in our community. We will defend the right of every person to live, work, play, cry, celebrate, mourn, and worship in safety.
We have much work to do. Many students and supporters of the Y are telling us that the election has shaken their view of who we are as a nation. But history has taught that each crisis also provides an opportunity. In the coming weeks and months, there will be a myriad of opportunities to lend your voice to issues and policies that will define who we are as a nation. We hope you will stay engaged and active.
Thank you for your support and commitment to the values we hold dear. We can make a difference if we unite around our shared values, so we invite you to join with us and stand for the principles of inclusivity, mutual respect, and compassion.
The University YMCA Board of Governors