A letter from President McGee in response to current events…

Dear QU community:

I write to you tonight out of frustration, anger, and deep sorrow. Our last three months in the United States and around the world have been full of death, illness, economic hardship, and loss. During these months, we have been fixated, and understandably so, on the dangers posed by a once-in-a-century health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past few days, though, our attention in the U.S. has been turned to the latest in a long line of incidents of police brutality and indifference to the value of black lives. Like many of you, I have watched the horrifying video in which George Floyd had a Minneapolis police officer’s knee on his neck for almost nine minutes, while bystanders begged police to stop choking Mr. Floyd. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement on Friday evening, we “are broken-hearted, sickened and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes.”

Tonight will be the sixth consecutive night of protests against police misconduct and the death of George Floyd. While many protests and demonstrations have been peaceful, some have not. Fires, rubber bullets, and tear gas are now central to this story, as many of our cities have been aflame.

As QU president, I stand with any member of our community who insists that police officers must treat all people with dignity and respect, that racial bias is incompatible with service in law enforcement, and that there must be consequences for anyone responsible for the death of another human being.

While justice is essential to Quincy University’s mission, peace is also one of our fundamental Franciscan values. While peaceable protest is a fundamental expression of our right to free speech, violence against people and property can do great harm to those innocent of wrongdoing.

I encourage all members of our QU community to live lives of love and caring, to call out what the U.S. Catholic Bishops rightly describe as the “real and present danger” of racism, and to set examples of non-violent and meaningful advocacy for change.

If any QU student, faculty, or staff member needs assistance from the university as a result of the events of the past week, please contact us. If you are not sure whom to contact, you can always email HawksHelp@quincy.edu.

Hawks, you are in my prayers, as are the many good people who will be protesting tonight and the many good people who serve as police officers and members of the National Guard and will be trying to keep us safe in our cities. May God watch over us all. May we have real justice and lasting peace.

Pax et Bonum,