Doing Better and Being Better, There is Much We Agree On

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Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton

Yesterday’s gathering by a large group of our students was an important expression of concern about very difficult and deep-seated challenges we face as a university community, region and country. Not only do we respect their right to organize in this way, but we also believe the sharing of perspectives is essential if we are going to be the kind of civil and just society we aspire to be.

We will be discussing the issues more directly when we meet with student organizers in January. Already, we know that there is much we agree on. We agree that recent events in St. Louis are tragic. We agree that, as a region, we must do better and be better and work toward a society in which all have the opportunity to thrive. We agree that far too many members of our broader St. Louis community struggle because of disparity and social injustice. We also agree that Washington University can help address these challenges and must be part of making the region stronger.

We have efforts already underway and are in conversation with community leaders about other ways to engage. This is a time when the university must make a meaningful difference and help bring about necessary change. The knowledge, passion and commitment of our students, faculty and staff are needed now, more than ever.


  1. We should start by recognizing that Michael Brown’s death was not the cause of a racial divide, and that he in no way is an American Hero. As a highly esteemed university, I would like to think our own Chancellor is wise enough to see through the current social dogma to recognize that Michael Brown caused his own death by disobeying and disrespecting authority. And, the cause of that points to his parents, those same two individuals who have been lifted up as American’s “Parents of the Year.” The societal failure, and one that desperately needs to be addressed, is why we have allowed our society to destroy the core family, one that demands each child be raised by a responsible father AND mother, who have committed to each other for life, and whose first priority is to their children. Instead, our own Chancellor bends to the cloudy eyes of society to ignore the real issue, uplift a criminal, and condemn an honorable police officer who was simply doing his job to protect Ferguson from Michael Brown. I certainly hope my $60,000 per year is better spent in providing me with a safe and educational environment where I feel I can study in the library for my finals without persistent interruption from other students who apparently do not need to study. I call on the Chancellor to do his job that we are paying him for to make sure all of our rights as students are upheld, to provide us a safe environment, and one where we can focus on our education. ALL lives matter, even white ones, tan ones, burnt orange, yellow, green… and yes, black.

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