To the campus community,
As I am sure you are aware, yesterday the world lost a great moral leader and role model, Nelson Mandela. While he rose to prominence for his work to end apartheid and restore the rights and dignity of people of color in South Africa, his example and commitment to equality and peace made him an individual of great stature and authority to the entire world. He rose above the persecution and oppression of his government and his opponents with dignity, grace, and moral force, and subsequently helped heal and unite his country. He never indulged in hateful speech, because he knew that words could be deadly weapons, thus appealing to the angels in us all. Although he probably felt his work was not finished, he nevertheless put his country on a positive path that provided hope and was a model to the rest of the world.
Mr. Mandela’s work and accomplishments make him one of the great figures of history. His success in creating social change through peaceful means, understanding, and respect showed that any problem or conflict, no matter how difficult or intractable, can be resolved. CSUN is an academic institution that particularly has a long and proud history of serving and being responsive to traditionally underrepresented communities, so I hope you will join me in remembering and honoring the memory and legacy of Nelson Mandela. His values and work have always aligned closely with the university’s mission, so through our everyday work of educating students and preparing them to be leaders in their communities, we are proud to continue the work of Mr. Mandela and fulfill his vision of a world community that provides equal rights, opportunity, and respect to all.
In keeping with a similar proclamation from President Obama to federal facilities, I have requested that the flags on campus, including the one over the Oviatt Library, be lowered to half staff until sunset on Monday, December 9, as a mark of respect for the memory of Mr. Mandela.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.