Dear Clarkson Community Members,
You may be aware of events happening this Saturday in downtown Potsdam involving a Back the Blue parade and rally, and the Black Lives Matter Rally.
We wanted to let you know we are aware of these events. We wanted to offer some information and resources to you that reflect our Clarkson Values and ask you to take to heart President Collins’ recent words to us to be Golden Knights who listen, learn and solve problems together. We recognize we have many friends, colleagues and community members we know who will attend these rallies. We want to assure you that we will continue to engage in meaningful dialogue as a community and use these moments to change in needed ways that show Black lives matter at Clarkson and in our community.
Potsdam and the North Country are not isolated from the world. As a global community in our college town, our collective experiences and perspectives aid us in having a deeper, richer dialogue to address systemic racism. We realize the events may be causing some concern regarding the beginning of the semester and the general health and safety of our community. For others there is some stress over feeling torn between support for the Black community and for first responders. We recognize these events reflect the heart of the difficult conversations we need to be having both in the Clarkson Community and wider North Country communities.
First we wanted to reassure Clarkson Community members that how you choose to express yourself as a private citizen is absolutely your choice. The University has made its own statements on supporting Black lives and working to change both our institution and the wider community to reflect this support. That statement can be found here: Statement of the Presidents of the Associated Colleges supporting Black Lives Matter. Part of that work has been engaging with a receptive team of local law enforcement members to discuss potential reforms and engaging in dialogue with the Clarkson community when we return this semester.
We do ask you to please, please stay safe if you attend downtown events. Please practice social distancing and wear personal protective equipment (#LetsCUWearIt!). New York offers free testing to those who attend protests and we encourage those who attend to follow up with a test, regardless of when you were last tested. We must ask that you remember not to break isolation or quarantine if you are currently doing so to meet your work obligations or attend Clarkson. And we ask that you remember to practice your Clarkson values in addressing one another as we work towards a better Clarkson and a better future for everyone.
Tony Collins, President
Jennifer Ball, Chief Inclusion Officer
Kelly Chezum ‘04, Vice President for External Relations