Today, Elizabeth Davis, president of Furman University, sent the following message to the Furman community.
Dear Campus Community,
Yesterday was one of the most troubling days in the history of our American democracy. Like many of you, I watched in disbelief as a violent mob forced its way into the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the affirmation by Congress of the electoral votes cast in the 2020 presidential election.
Elected representatives of both parties denounced the despicable behavior, as they should. Let there be no mistake: Civility, decency, mutual respect and following the rule of law are not partisan issues. The violent action was, in no uncertain terms, wrong. There is nothing virtuous or honorable about unlawful insurrection.
Conspicuous among yesterday’s events were flags, signs and symbols of racism. This, too, must be condemned without equivocation.
We must hold sacred and protect our democratic institutions and the sanctity of our vote and the electoral process, as well as our right to protest peacefully. Let me be clear: It is your right and responsibility to support your candidate of choice; it is your right and responsibility to peacefully protest issues with which you disagree; and it is our collective responsibility to support the rights of others to do the same.
Democracy is a living, breathing, continuous experiment, as vulnerable to harm as any other living, breathing thing. Yesterday’s violent insurrection is one of many injuries our democracy has suffered, and it shows that maintaining its health is a constant responsibility we all must bear. As a university community, we must accept our responsibility to educate the citizenry about democratic processes and instill an understanding of, and appreciation for, a civil, inclusive society.
I call on all of us to renew our commitment to democracy and a civil society.