January 6, 2021

Today’s Events in Washington, D.C.

Like many of you, I have been watching today’s events in Washington, D.C. with outrage, sorrow, and resolve.

What we have seen and are still seeing is an unprecedented attack on our democratic processes that must be denounced by everyone committed to democracy and the rule of law.

Today’s assault on the Capitol for the purpose of disrupting the finalization of election results, fostered and abetted by authoritarian efforts to lie about the election and pressure election officials to disregard the will of the people, reveals a serious ongoing threat to our constitutional order.

Our democratic republic has proven itself resilient against other serious threats throughout American history, and I am confident it will stand firm in the face of these recent assaults. But doing so will require a widespread recommitment by all its citizens to the norms and values that sustain democratic self-government.

A university community such as ours is perfectly positioned to help address these challenges. Scholars and others with unique and special knowledge must speak clearly about these threats and develop appropriate lessons, remedies and interventions.

It is likely that the immediate crisis will ease over the next hours and days, but the underlying threats will not quickly be resolved. I urge all who are in a position to contribute to the defense of democracy – and deepen and improve our democratic practices – to do so.

Chancellor Howard Gillman