Posted on January 31, 2017 by Chester Ronning Centre

Jan 29th 2017 To the Augustana Community: I write this not as Dean, but simply as an American citizen. I have not always been proud of my country, whose history includes many blemishes and atrocities. But I have always believed that American ideals, which are inscribed in the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, …

Jan 29th 2017

To the Augustana Community:

I write this not as Dean, but simply as an American citizen. I have not always been proud of my country, whose history includes many blemishes and atrocities. But I have always believed that American ideals, which are inscribed in the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, on the Statue of Liberty, etc., have inspired progressive political action, informed the cause of justice, and shaped the arc of history.
Over the last few days I attended meetings in San Francisco of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges and the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the national organization dedicated to promoting the ideals of liberal education. It was a distressing experience: I wanted to shout, “the woods are on fire, and yet we’re all engaged in business as usual.” While there is much to lament about the initial policy decisions of the Trump administration, the executive order banning immigration from seven predominantly Islamic countries is especially alarming. How ironic that this xenophobic and Islamophobic decision was made on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
I continue to place my faith in the American judicial system (hooray for yesterday’s principled and courageous decision by District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly) and the American people (hooray for the spontaneous demonstrations at U.S. airports, for the NYC taxi drivers, etc.). And hooray for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who yesterday said: “To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.”
So too at Augustana. Our diversity is an important strength, and it is essential to our goals of a quality liberal education. So I encourage all of us to take advantage of the current situation by communicating these core values and by extending welcoming messages and expressions of concern to our international students.
In the meantime, I hope our professional associations, perhaps even our own University, will take strong stands.
Sincerely,
Allen
Allen H. Berger  | Dean and Executive Officer | University of Alberta Augustana Campus | 4901 Р46 Avenue Camrose, Alberta T4V 2R3

Posted in Announcements, Ronning Centre. | Permalink

3 responses to This Moment in History – A Message from Dean Berger

  • Doris said:
    Jan 31, 2017 at 10:24 PM

    I agree 200%

  • Jane Ross said:
    Jan 31, 2017 at 4:47 PM

    Dear Dean Berger,

    I am grateful that you have spoken out – written – on the overarching subject having so many ramifications for all of us: community members, students, faith groups, members of professional associations, leaders, and global citizens.

    I have been waiting for a voice from the University of Alberta, so I am relieved and glad that you have taken this step to say that the woods are on fire. As an alumna of the University, I also hope that a strong stand will be taken, although I’m wondering what that stand might and should be.

    Please let interested community members know when there will be an occasion for interested people to meet together and at least begin the vital discussions that will help move us beyond business as (un)usual. I know there are others who would welcome such a meeting.

    • Chester Ronning Centre said:
      Feb 1, 2017 at 3:42 PM

      Thank you Jane. I will pass this message along to Dean Berger.
      -Diane