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Responding to the recent events in our nation

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Jeremy Haefner

News  •

Dear DU community members,

Yesterday was one of the darkest days for our country that I have ever witnessed. I, like so many, am still reeling after witnessing a violent mob of our fellow Americans force entry into our nation’s Capitol building—recognized worldwide as a sacred symbol of democracy. This mob sought chaos and the disruption of a central pillar of U.S. governance, an orderly and peaceful transfer of power after a free and fair election.

This act of insurrection is shocking and deeply upsetting, but sadly, it is not surprising. The president and other U.S. leaders have abandoned reality to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories that have stoked division to untenable heights. What’s more, this war on the truth has allowed vile symbols of hatred to gain foothold. Yesterday’s imagery of the Confederate flag inside our nation’s Capitol, and t-shirts and tattoos expressing support for Nazism were deeply disturbing and expose plainly the great distance between our present and the just and equitable America we yearn for.

Our credibility as a nation resolutely committed to the will of its people is tarnished by yesterday’s events. The reaction from our friends and allies across the globe, who look to our country as the pillar of democratic ideals, shows that their faith in our ability to maintain and sustain democratic principles was deeply rattled. Never in my lifetime have I been more sad for our country.

Yet hope still shines through this darkness. Today, in the first hours of a new day, Congress convened, once again, to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. In the end, these acts of insurrection failed, and democracy prevailed. This is the truth I—and I hope you—hold on to even as we recognize our country must reckon, immediately, with the rhetoric, conditions and division that made such an event possible.

It is likely many of us feel shaken by yesterday, most especially after such an incredibly trying year. I urge us to all to check in with our peers, colleagues and friends today. Soon, we will share information about programming to come together as a community to discuss this event and its implications. I am also sharing information about resources and support below.

The country we witnessed yesterday does not have to be who we are today or tomorrow. As the late Congressman John Lewis said, "Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society."

And from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before usthat from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotionthat we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vainthat this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedomand that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


Jeremy Haefner

Support and Resources

For Faculty

The American Historical Association has put together a host of teaching resources, which may aid in in-class conversations in the coming weeks and months.

For Students

The Cultural Center creates an environment where students of color, students of marginalized faiths and LGBTQ+ students can critically engage their historical legacies, while enhancing their educational, intellectual and personal/professional interest as it relates to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic and cultural sensibilities, while providing a physical safe haven for respite and dialogue as they navigate their journey at DU.

The Health and Counseling Center provides many tele-medical and mental health services, including crisis and after-hours support. All University of Denver students have access to free crisis services at the HCC, regardless of insurance coverage (303-871-2205).

Inclusion and Equity Education provides readymade workshops including Introduction to Inclusive Excellence, Responding to Microaggressions, Introduction to Dialogue Skills, and Queer & Ally (Q&A) Trainings. These and custom sessions can be scheduled for classes, offices and organizations.

Student Outreach & Support is a resource where trained staff members ensure that students are connected to appropriate campus resources, have a plan of action to meet their goals, and learn how to navigate challenging situations. You can activate these services by completing a SOS referral or by calling 303-871-2400.

For Faculty & Staff

Employee Assistance Program: SupportLinc is the University’s employee assistance program. DU employees and their family members can access counseling and receive professional referrals to other experts. Call 1-888-881 LINC [5462] or log in to the SupportLinc website with username: universityofdenver.