The following message was posted on the front page of the university website on July 8, 2016:
Sadly, yet again violence, bloodshed and death grip our nation. The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile appear as tragic examples of the racism and a devaluation of human life that shakes our country at its very core. The deaths of the officers in Dallas who were performing their duty and protecting the vital right to freedom of speech and protest are heartbreaking tragedies of similar proportion, and I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. — “Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert.” These deaths are an attack on our values as a nation. On behalf of California State University, Northridge, our hearts, thoughts and sympathies are with the victims, survivors, friends and family members impacted by these events.
While details are still emerging, one thing is clear: We must come together as a nation and campus community to stand against all acts of violence. During our recent commencement ceremonies, I spoke to our graduates about their responsibility and opportunity to create a brighter future. In that same vein our current students will inherit the challenges of our time, and I believe they hold the promise of change. Their optimism, intelligence and commitment to building a better world gives me hope for the future, and I welcome opportunities for dialogue on our campus this fall that seeks to challenge violence as normative behavior and seeks vehicles through which our campus can stand tall as a community that demonstrates respect for all people.
I remain steadfast in my belief in the values of our campus and our nation, and in the ability of “we the people” to rise above these recent events.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.