A significant role of a higher education leader is to help those on- and off-campus make sense of divisive incidents and their broader social implications, particularly with regard to the mission of the institution. Pressimone has spoken in response to racial strife, election unrest and other recent crises in America.
He shared the following remarks campus open forums on March 26 and March 30.
“As we prepare for the Easter holiday, I wanted to make sure all had a chance to read and reflect. I pray that we all might be agents of change for the good of our community and our world,” Pressimone said.
Notre Dame College Dear Students and Colleagues:
It can sometimes be difficult to determine when to speak or not as we are bombarded daily with acts of extremism and violence.
It never ceases to amaze me how much hatred can be found in the hearts of our fellow human beings. The rise in hate crimes against our Asian American sisters and brothers which included the shooting death of eight people in Atlanta, six of whom were Asian American is but another example. The killing of 10 innocent shoppers in Boulder Colorado is yet another example of gun violence in America. Apparently, we had a near miss when a heavily armed man entered a Publix store in Atlanta just a few days ago. As reported and presented by many, gun violence is a healthcare crisis in America.
I would contend that race-based hatred and bigotry is also a health care crisis. It is a malformed conscience that allows someone to see a young black man as an enemy without ever knowing his heart. It is a damaged heart that allows someone to assault an Asian American woman just because of her ancestral origins.
Part of the cure is naming the disease. How we engage with members of our community here on this campus should stand as testimony against the hatred and violence we see every day through our various media lenses. I believe, and I hope you do as well, that education, while not the only answer, is a key component to finding a cure.
The knowledge imparted in our classrooms is our principal work. However, the ongoing education and formation of the hearts and souls of our students and each other is equally important. As we go about our work at Notre Dame College, let’s keep this in mind. Let’s remember that our students come to us as incomplete and that we must help them comprehensively as they journey to adulthood. How we go about our work and how we relate to each other should provide examples for the young women and men who walk the pathways and halls of our campus every day.
I thank you for your commitment to this important work and to sustaining the mission of Notre Dame.
About Notre Dame College
Notre Dame College is a private, Catholic, liberal arts college in South Euclid committed to teaching students how to make a good living and live a good life. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the college offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. For more information, visit NotreDameCollege.edu.