President’s speeches, letters, and articles
Subject: Election Day
November 3, 2020
Dear students, faculty, and staff,
Today is Election Day, one of the most important days for United States democracy. This is my first presidential election in a state with mail-in ballots (and drop boxes) as the primary mode of casting votes. It is encouraging that people have voted early in record numbers. Cheryl and I delivered our ballots weeks ago, and we feel better knowing we have done our civic duty. Personally, I have experienced a greater sense of urgency this year than in previous elections and will watch tonight’s election returns with hope.
The past few years have been chaotic, to say the least. Many of us often found ourselves filled with anxiety wondering if our rights would be protected equally under the law. We have been worried about the health and safety of ourselves, our friends, and our families. Some in our community have been confronted with enormous obstacles at our borders while trying to access education or visit family. We have witnessed vicious and deadly instances of bias and discrimination. We have seen anger and division foment into violent clashes and policy nightmares. We have been left questioning why the idea of equality is so divisive.
Over the past year, however, I have taken refuge in the Reed community. I see in Reedies what I hope to see reflected in this country and across the globe. I see an engaged community filled with compassion, hope, and desire for equality—a community committed to the work of creating a better world for all. I am reminded of a quotation from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” We must continue on, step by step, to move toward a better and more sustainable future with the understanding that the work of democracy is never finished.
I am reminded of a quotation from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” We must continue on, step by step, to move toward a better and more sustainable future with the understanding that the work of democracy is never finished.
AUDREY BILGER, PRESIDENT
I was drawn to work in education for many reasons, but primarily because I believe that education provides the basis for an informed and participatory democracy. I believe that education leads to opportunity, and I have long been guided and inspired by the words of pedagogical theorist Paulo Freire, who declared that “education is the practice of freedom.”
Through these challenging times, the world benefits from the engagement of Reedies. Reed’s greatest contribution to society comes from what happens in our classrooms, labs, studios, and theatres and as a result of what our graduates do when they venture out into the world. My focus today, tomorrow, and in the months and years ahead will be to ensure that Reed continues to be a leading community for learning and discovery and that our academic program is inclusive and supportive of student success. We will follow reason, science, and the best data to keep Reed safe during the pandemic. We will continue to take steps to honor the promises Reed has made to eliminate racist systems and to achieve equity and inclusion. Together, we will strive to evolve Reed toward its highest ideals.
Regardless of what transpires today, my hope is that you will stay engaged. The path of change is always filled with challenges, but no matter where we find ourselves on that journey, we can always be looking to take the next step. Whether our next step is easier or harder, I look forward to taking it with you.
All my best,
P.S. Tonight, you can watch (locally on KOIN-TV and nationally on CNBC) political science faculty members Chris Koski and Paul Gronke as they bring context and commentary to viewers on the election. Student Life and Bon Appétit are also co-hosting an Election Viewing Party on the Quad—stop by!