Our Role in Preserving Our Democracy

January 7, 2021

Dear Cal State East Bay Community,

I am writing today to share with you my outrage and sadness at the attempt to disrupt our democratic process we all witnessed yesterday in our nation’s Capitol. Having lived in Washington, DC, having walked the halls of the Capitol many times, I could not imagine those historic hallways becoming the site of such appalling violence and insurrection in my lifetime. Those were disturbing images I will not soon forget. The intrusion into the Capitol and the attack on our democracy go against everything I believe in and have worked so hard for throughout my life.

Still, as I watched our Congress work into the early hours of the morning after a traumatizing day to ratify the election of Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President, I felt a glimmer of hope. Though we witnessed its fragility yesterday, we saw that democracy remains intact.

However, I am not naïve. I know partisan challenges, untruths and violent outbreaks are likely to continue across our country for some time. That is why I ask you to join me as I reaffirm my commitment to the work we do at Cal State East Bay. Education is by far the strongest force for positive change in our society and in the world. As members of the higher education community—faculty, staff, and students alike—we have core values to guide us. We believe in seeking and promoting knowledge supported by facts and evidence. We believe in equity and inclusion and creating a more just society with engaged, informed citizenry. We believe in open, robust and respectful debate—a hallmark of our democratic processes.

I am proud to be here at this moment in time. Though we all have experienced unparalleled political and social unrest in the midst of a global pandemic that has affected every aspect of our lives, there are signs of positive change. Everything I know about this community reassures me that our shared values and commitment to education are the pathway to hope and possibility.

Very sincerely yours,

Cathy Sandeen