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November 11, 2016

To the University of Miami Community,

Today, as we commemorate Veteran's Day and the sacrifices made by the brave women and men defending this nation, we also recognize that the right of people to determine their future through elected leaders is a hallmark of democracy. On Tuesday, 130 million citizens went to the polls, deciding ballot measures and electing governors, members of Congress, and the 45th U.S. president. The 2016 presidential election cycle was historic in many ways, including the passion with which supporters of both parties expressed their beliefs, concerns, and hopes for the future.

In the wake of an often tension-filled and contentious campaign season, I want to remind us of the extraordinary opportunity we have as members of the UM community to set an example of inclusion, civility, and kindness for the country and for the rest of the world. Yet, there are people on our campus and in our lives who, regardless of their political party or preferred candidate, feel a disconnect with others and a concern that their voice is not valued or respected.

Change is certain when there is a new administration. Regardless of the transitions ahead in Washington, we will stay focused on being an exemplary university—one that fosters respectful dialogue on challenging topics in the quest to find truth and understand each other better. Our core values—diversity, integrity, responsibility, excellence, creativity, compassion, and teamwork—are the foundation of who we are. I see those values lived out every day at this great University. I see disagreement and debate approached with respect. I see an openness to beliefs that may be in conflict with our own. I see a commitment to diversity and inclusion that truly makes us an example.

I applaud our remarkable students, who flooded election night watch parties on our campus with their peaceful enthusiasm. The Get Out the Vote student organization, which registered a record 2,500 students to vote, hosted a post-election dialogue, “What Now?”—an open forum at the Shalala Student Center last night. This is exactly the way to reinforce the unity of the UM family—by listening to and learning from each other.

Working together, we will continue to build bridges of trust, ensure that every voice has an opportunity to be heard, and strengthen the dynamic, multicultural, transformative U we all love.