UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

President’s video and message touch on COVID, cohesiveness and civility

‘Seek to understand others, and seek to be understood,’ President Armacost suggests

Dear Members of the UND Community,
Today’s video addresses a few important issues, including COVID and Thanksgiving, elections and free speech, and equity and inclusion. Please spend a few minutes to watch and listen.
I was recently struck by an image of the first graduating class at UND – six women and two men. That was in 1889. One graduate was Cora Smith Eaton King, who would become the first woman in North Dakota to receive a medical license. Talent knows no bounds.
There is a dialogue emerging across the nation about diversity, equity, and inclusion. In my view, it has been emerging for decades, if not centuries, yet it has moved slowly. The events of this summer have accelerated this discussion and brought many additional voices to the conversation.
A college campus must be a place where we have tough conversations to build a sense of understanding, an understanding of why we think the way we do and why others think the way they do. That appreciation will help mold our ever-evolving view of the world and our role in it. When you hear ideas you do not like, don’t get angry. Seek to understand others, and seek to be understood.
Our campus has an important opportunity with our Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, chaired by Cara Halgren and Tamba-Kuii Bailey. This 27-member task force will soon make suggestions about ways to bring a wholeness to our community and to take positive steps toward a more inclusive and equitable campus. Their suggestions will challenge me. They will challenge us.
It is my job – and yours – to think carefully about how we embed their ideas into the fabric of UND. The tapestry of our campus must be whole and unified. It must be one, not in spite of our differences, but because of them.
Andy Armacost