As a college president, and especially as a human being with some intellectual capacity, there is always a lot on my mind. I continually think about how to respond to events in the local community as well as national and international events. Should I remain silent and keep my thoughts to myself, or should I engage the wider community in discussions about the events? Typically, we engage the community utilizing our Current and Cultural Affairs Series as a conduit for these discussions. We have had many of those, several focusing on issues of diversity and race. In terms of what’s in the national news now, we have been ahead of the curve.
In light of the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, I want to focus this article on Safety, not race, multiculturalism or diversity. Everyone has a right to feel safe in the normal course of the day, especially at a place of worship. It appears there are so few safe places these days – offices are not safe, schools are not safe, the streets are not safe, and now even places of worship – the sanctuaries of security – are not safe. That, unfortunately, is the world in which we live. I once heard a security expert say that when he sits in a room, he always sits facing the entrance, never with his back to the door. He also stated that he avoids “soft targets” such as malls and other public venues. I am not sure we can all live this way in this great land of freedom and liberty.
While we are fortunate to live in the security of Monroe, it is important to note that we need to remain vigilant. At the risk of sounding alarmist, I implore you to please report any suspicious activity anywhere you go and do not take safety for granted. The world in which we live is not what it used to be.