A Statement from President Pappas on Recent Events

To the Davenport University community,

Our communities are facing incredible challenges. Not only with an invasive pandemic and devastating unemployment but we are also grappling with unacceptable acts of violence against the African American community. All of this has culminated in proud demonstrations across our country. People are hurting and demanding justice. We stand with them.

It reminds me of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his admission that violence is incensed when people feel unheard. He shared the following more than 50 years ago, “I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?”

No one condones violence of any kind. We must learn to listen and hear the pain and suffering that generations have felt. We can then be part of constructive change.

Whether we are feeling shock, outrage or hurt by these recent events, we can take this opportunity to reiterate our commitment to be a community where similarities and differences are respected and embraced. As a university, we represent diversity of races, cultures and backgrounds. We must renew our commitment to provide equitable treatment and inclusive experiences across our campuses. With that, we must continue to speak out against racism and violence directed toward people of color.

Together, we have an opportunity to lead during these times of crisis and create a better, stronger world. If you’d like to get more involved with our various diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, please visit davenport.edu/about/dei to connect with Davenport’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, as well as our DEI Council.

All of the turmoil we are experiencing can also take an emotional toll. I want to encourage you to reach out for support if you are feeling overwhelmed. Davenport, as well as many other organizations, have free resources available to support you.

At Davenport University, we pride ourselves on teaching and creating tomorrow’s leaders. In moments like this, true leaders build each other up, show each other compassion, and rally together for what is right.

Dr. Richard J. Pappas
President, Davenport University