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K-State Today

October 16, 2017



Opportunities to strengthen the K-State family

By President Richard Myers

Dear K-State family:

As I reflect on events of the past week, I see an opportunity to come together and grow stronger as a family. The circumstances surrounding the celebration of the Jewish Sukkot serve as an excellent learning opportunity.

We learned that things are not always as they seem to be, and that a rush to judgment can make things worse and damage the reputation of our university. We also learned how inspiring it can be when our family pulls together.

Rabbi Neal Schuster, from the University of Kansas, gave a thoughtful and healing message when he spoke at the Sukkot Solidarity Dinner on Wednesday. He explained the history and meaning of the holiday and symbols surrounding the celebration; then put things in perspective. He instructed us on a long-standing value of the Jewish religion, which is to give people the benefit of the doubt when bad things occur.

When events such as the weather-related destruction of the sukkah occur, we should remember the Rabbi's wise advice. The rush to judgment and demand for an immediate response does not always serve us well. Last week, it certainly did not.

The military knows that initial reports from a battlefield are always wrong. With people's lives at stake, leaders must reserve judgment until the facts are known. Sadly, there will be more incidents in the future, just as there will always be people who want to hurt others with words, symbols and hateful acts. The way we react — or don't react — defines who we are. Hateful acts should be confronted with strength and resolve based on a true understanding of what happened.

By keeping things in perspective, as the Rabbi counseled, we will stand up to those who wish to disrupt our lives with divisive messages. Our collective safety comes from a strong family and shared values we call the Principles of Community.

We are a strong family; let's take these lessons to heart. That's the Wildcat Way.

Sincerely,

Richard B. Myers
President

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