Embodying Our Core ValuesGeneral (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III
November 3, 2023
As tensions and violence continue to escalate in the Middle East, I want to ensure our campus remains a safe place for people to express opinions, discuss issues and engage in peaceful discourse. I’m grateful to our students, faculty and staff, as well as former students and community members, who have shared their personal views on the horrific events in the Middle East over the past few weeks.
I know this is a deeply divisive conflict that has spanned generations, and many of you have friends or relatives who have been directly, and grievously, impacted. I know your views are deeply held. You’ve expressed those views clearly to me and other university leaders in emails, on social media, in one-on-one conversations and through on-campus demonstrations. You’ve done so respectfully, without violence or threats to others. You’ve strongly disagreed with each other, while tacitly accepting the humanity of those with whom you disagree. This is not the case for all universities.
As I watch the turmoil on other campuses across the country, I’m struck by the fact that when confrontation starts, dialogue and effective communication stop. Without communication, it’s impossible to build understanding. Without some level of understanding, there can be no trust. And without trust, there can be no lasting resolution.
The right to free speech is the foundation on which our nation and academic communities like Texas A&M University are built. Thank you for showing others through your actions that it’s possible to disagree vehemently and do it in a way that values the worth of others and acknowledges the fact that, in the United States, everyone has a voice, no matter how much we may disagree with how they use it.
For almost 250 years, people have been coming to this country to find peace. And for almost 150 years, people have been coming to this university to seek knowledge and have found family. Violence, harassment and abuse have no place in this family. I know you all agree; your actions are proving it to the world.
We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure the physical safety of those on campus, and we will remain committed to supporting those directly impacted. If you are hurting, or need additional support, I encourage you to utilize the resources available to you as a member of the Aggie Family, including University Health Services, the Employee Assistance Program, Student Assistance Services, and International & Student Scholar Services.
Thank you again for showing people everywhere what constructive disagreement looks like at a university where respect is a shared value. I’m proud to stand beside you.
Thank you and Gig ’em!
General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III, Interim President