Overcome hatred and attacks on our democracy with truth and shared values

To: Members of the OSU Community

From: F. King Alexander, President

January 7, 2021

Members of the OSU Community,

Like you, I watched with horror the outrageous and violent attack yesterday on our nation’s capitol building. This attack assailed not only our elected leaders but the Constitutional values and processes that guide our country each day and the peaceful transition of governmental power prescribed by law.

I condemn such violence, hatred and actions against what America stands for.

I am thankful that democracy and the U.S. Constitution stood resolute against this attempted coup and that a joint session of Congress overnight was able to complete counting the electoral votes and certifying the election of our next president and vice president.

Yesterday’s attack should have never happened. Our current president could have kept such an offense from occurring, but instead chose to incite violence by sharing continued lies, misinformation and fomenting hatefulness. In turn, we witnessed not only an insurrection, but what appeared to be underprepared U.S. Capitol law enforcement seemingly responding yesterday with inexplicable leniency to violent rioters attacking the capitol in contrast to an aggressive police response during recent largely peaceful Black Lives Matters protests in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. last summer. Was this an example of leniency involving radical white anarchists? We do not know yet. I do know what took place yesterday needs to be thoroughly investigated and those rioters intent on destroying our democracy should face justice. 

We are better as a country and as Americans than what we transpired yesterday. We must never again see such an assault on our nation and its long-held values of freedom, equality and democracy for all.

Looking ahead, I ask that each of us take note of the leadership oratory that U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah offered last night within the U.S. Senate: “The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth.”

Each of us within Oregon State University has a role and responsibility in communicating and advancing the truth.

We must do so in our roles as educators, students and staff through our teaching, learning, engagement and research. And by engaging in peaceful and civil discussion and discourse, mutual respect, advocacy, and even disagreement within our campuses and in the communities where the university operates and serves. As the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated, “the real safeguard of democracy is education.”

I ask that we each act within the principles of democracy and together build agreement and work to advance truth and our shared values.

Let us not forget but learn from and never repeat what occurred yesterday. Together, I believe, we will advance the promise of democracy and equality for our great nation.


F. King Alexander