Tomorrow is Election Day, and many of you have already cast your ballots or made plans to vote in person. This is an exciting time to practice our civic responsibilities, yet it is also a time of high emotions. It has been a challenging and often divisive year. Social and mainstream media are filled with videos of protests, rallies and demonstrations reflecting a wide range of emotions and outcomes; many events are peaceful while others become violent.
As a result, many people — all across the political spectrum — are anxious about the outcome of the election and the days ahead.
In times of uncertainty and unrest, our core values are our foundation. When there is doubt, they guide the path forward. I’d like to invite you to reflect on one of them with me now.
At CMU, we embrace inclusiveness, and this means embracing diversity of opinions and political beliefs. No matter who you support or your stance on various issues — you are welcome at CMU. Every member of our community has the right to research issues, form an educated opinion and express themselves in a civil manner.
This also means we ALL have a responsibility to listen and speak respectfully when engaging with individuals whose opinions are different from our own. In our personal and professional lives, we will always encounter individuals with whom we disagree. Some of the people we meet will hold points of view we find distasteful and even abhorrent.
We cannot control what others think, feel and do; we can control how we react and respond to them.
At CMU, we set the leadership standard in all we do, and I’m certain we will do so now. Instead of discord and anger, embrace harmony and thoughtful discussions. Aim to build bridges of understanding instead of silos of division.
And, when it is impossible to find common ground or to disagree respectfully and compassionately, it is absolutely acceptable — and encouraged — to leave the conversation. Remember, we can learn something from every interaction, and sometimes what we learn is that we have the power to walk away with our integrity intact.
If you feel anxious or need to talk to someone, now or in the days ahead, we are here to help. Please take advantage of the resources available through the Counseling Center and the Employee Assistance program. We are here to support and uplift one another, and you are not alone.
Above all else, remember this: Our university community’s core values are constant and will not change based upon the outcome of any election. On Election Day and every day, we, the Central Michigan University community, will embrace and model integrity, respect, compassion, inclusiveness, social responsibility, excellence and innovation.