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Dear Members of the University Community:

August 28, 2010

Last Friday's Day of Dialogue was an extraordinary day in the life of the University community - a day for us to begin a sustained effort to build a more caring, compassionate community.

I want to extend my gratitude to all of you who took time from busy schedules to participate in the day's events, especially in the very difficult discussions that unfolded during concurrent dialogue sessions. More than 1,000 students, faculty, and staff members came together in these candid discussions about our responsibilities to each other and to our community.

In my opening remarks, I asked that we set aside our reluctance to face difficult matters head-on and that we acknowledge that we live in a community that represents many different perspectives on violence, abuse, and death. Some of us have only experienced these things from a distance; some have witnessed them first-hand; and some have been victims of violence or abuse.

I was pleased to observe the care and respect that everyone involved showed for one another throughout the day.

This day would not have happened without the commitment of the many individuals who gave so selflessly of their time and talent to give shape and purpose to the day. I am particularly grateful to the Faculty Senate for its leadership and support.

For those who were unable to join us, I hope that you will find time to watch the videos of two public sessions - in particular the inspirational closing remarks by Michael Suarez. They will help you to feel connected to what transpired and to become part of ongoing discussions across the Grounds.

It is my intention that the conversations that we began Friday will continue in the days, weeks, and years ahead. In early October, I will meet with the facilitators to discuss themes that emerged during the day, and I plan to keep our community updated regarding next steps.

At the beginning of the Day of Dialogue, we posed the following question: Are we a caring community? Let's make a commitment to ourselves, and to each other, that we will keep working together until the answer to that question is a resounding Yes.

Teresa A. Sullivan