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Faculty Senate Statements and Resolutions

 

 


Faculty Senate Executive Committee Statement on the Events of January 6, 2021
January 14, 2021

We, the SIUE Faculty Senate Executive Committee, are deeply disturbed by the events on January 6, 2021, when an armed mob mobilized and attempted to block Congress's certification of the presidential election, at the urging of President Donald J. Trump, who promoted false information about the integrity of the electoral process.  President Trump undermined the democratic bargain that win or lose, we accept the results of a free and fair election.  President Trump falsely stated that he had won the presidential election, despite repeated recounts, the certification by each state's officials, and the decision of the electoral college.  President Trump misled the mob that he had recruited with false hopes that Members of the Congress and the Vice President could overturn the certified will of the people in enough states to tip the outcome in his favor.  President Trump and his allies summoned insurgents to a rally and stirred up their false beliefs and passion.  The result was an armed, violent insurrection in the U.S. Capitol, attempting to stop members of Congress from carrying out their constitutionally sworn duties to certify the election results.  In doing so, President Trump and his conspirators defiled one of our nation's most sacred public places, put the lives of those in our Capitol at great risk, and placed our democracy in grave peril.

As the nation reflects on what happened and what brought us to this point, we note that Citizenship, Integrity, Wisdom, and Inclusion are not only four of SIUE's core values--these qualities would have helped prevent these assaults on our democracy.  Knowingly spreading false information stands contrary to the values of wisdom and integrity.  President Trump and those elected officials who contributed to helping him perpetuate a lie meant to subvert democracy and the will of the people failed to show true accountability to those they serve.  They chose short term political considerations over their constitutional duties.  This displays a dangerous lack of integrity.  Further, these actions failed to exemplify the value of citizenship, which we describe in part at SIUE as "Social, civic and political responsibility -- globally, nationally, locally, and within the University."  Further, while many involved in the insurrection may have mistakenly thought they were being patriots, they instead violated the rule of law and our nation's norms of citizenship.

We affirm intellectual freedom and diversity of thought and respect for individuals as important aspects of inclusion, yet wisdom and integrity require us to be honest "...in our communications an in our actions."  This should include being honest about what has happened.  That President Trump lost the election is not simply our opinion.  It is a learned assessment, affirmed by judges, in over 60 court cases where President Trump and his allies' case of a stolen election was dismissed for lack of evidence.  There has been no credible evidence of widespread voter fraud.  There has been no credible evidence of election fraud in any state that would change the result of who won in that state.  No challenge to a state electoral law or their administration has been successful, even when heard by judges appointed by President Trump.  He made his arguments in court, as is his legal right, and yet he lost.

Critical thinking skills play a vital role in helping individuals assess the quality of information and the strength or weakness of arguments.  A strong foundation in critical thinking skills helps protect citizens from being led astray by demagogues or the spread of misinformation.  SIUE is committed to students developing information literacy and critical thinking skills.  Now more than ever, fostering these skills matters.

This is not an ask to politicize the classroom or support any particular political party or candidate.  SIUE's commitment to civic responsibility and our core values transcend the politics of today, and call on us to all do our part to work together to develop and and grow our consciousness and the skills and tools required of us to meet the responsibilities of citizenship and community.

We encourage faculty to consider afresh how they can help contribute to the development of these skills and values in the classroom.

We also call on all members of the SIUE community to carefully reflect on how each of us might better live out these values and encourage them in others.


 

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