Open Letter to the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
We in the College of Arts & Letters seek to advance the core values of Michigan State University — quality, inclusiveness, and connectivity — by practicing inclusion as a matter of institutional habit.
As a result, our students, faculty, and staff, are well positioned in moments of uncertainty to respond with ethical imagination, an abiding commitment to social justice, and capacities for critique capable of enriching the public life we share.
First, to our students, know that we support you, that there are resources here to help you make sense of the recent election, that your voices are important, and that putting your commitments into practice is what it means to be an engaged citizen. Know too that in choosing an education in the arts and humanities, you have already demonstrated a commitment to pursue a meaningful life in community with others. With that commitment, you remind us all of the enduring capacity of a liberal arts education to create a more just and inclusive world over time.
Indeed, the ideals of the liberal arts are not abstract. They depend on cultivating capacities to communicate with eloquence, to embrace diversity with grace, to perceive globally with ethical imagination, and to respond to complexity critically and with nuance. These capacities can only be developed when we put them into practice everyday in the ways we respond to one another. This is how they become woven into the fabric of our community.
As faculty and staff, we bring to the current moment a depth of experience with and scholarship on structural inequities, human suffering, alienation, anxiety, and the power of language and art to create meaningful connection and more just communities. Our skills of engagement, broad historical perspectives, and perhaps most importantly, our capacities to attend carefully and caringly to the concerns of our students will empower them to bring their best selves and deepest convictions to the current situation.
The capacity of an education in the liberal arts to enrich our relationships with one another and to deepen our understanding of the human condition is unparalleled.
Let us draw deeply upon it here at Michigan State University as we work together to create a more just, inclusive, and caring civic life.
Christopher P. Long
Dean, College of Arts & Letters