Message from the President: Storming of the Capitol Building

A statement from President O'Donnell on the events of January 6.

January 7, 2021

To the Manhattan College Community,

On behalf of our educational community and in light of its commitment to the common good and to forming the next generation of civic leaders, I write to condemn in the strongest possible terms the actions of the mob that breached the Capitol yesterday. The spectacle of our fellow citizens perpetrating violence intended to strike fear into the hearts of members of Congress conducting a process central to our democracy was as ugly and shameful as it was illegal.

These actions deserve the condemnation of everyone who cherishes human dignity, equal rights, social justice, the rule of law, and the democratic values that hold this great and wonderfully diverse country together.  Equally shameful are those who incited these actions through their words.  As Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black said so powerfully in his prayer early this morning: “these tragedies have reminded us that words matter, and that the power of life and death is in the tongue.”  Sadly, one of the loudest voices fueling the anger, hatred, and violence that spilled out yesterday is a graduate of our College, Rudolph Giuliani. His conduct as a leader of the campaign to de-legitimize the election and disenfranchise millions of voters—has been and continues to be a repudiation of the deepest values of his alma mater.

As we look forward to a new year and a new semester, we are called to redouble our efforts to educate our students, as our mission statement says, “for lives of personal development, professional success, civic engagement, and service to their fellow human beings.” Faculty are already mobilizing to create opportunities—for example through our Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center—for bringing together our College and our many communities, finding our way forward in these perilously divided times.  Let us recommit to our good and hard work.  And let us go about that work as Lasallians, in a spirit of liberation and inclusion, grounded in faith, hope, and love.

Brennan O'Donnell

By Pete McHugh