Inside Higher Education shares reactions from college leaders, including Alison Byerly
Higher-education leaders, including Lafayette’s President Alison Byerly, issued formal statements condemning the violence that took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Inside Higher Education published excerpts of statements from college leaders across the country and included the following excerpt of Byerly’s statement:
“One of the most widely circulated photos of the scene showed our own local Congresswoman, Rep. Susan Wild, forced to take cover on the floor, as police attempted to restrain the mob that soon succeeded in invading the chamber. The blow struck against our country’s legitimate electoral processes, and the threat levied against our elected representatives, were a grim reminder that our own safety and freedom depend on the ability of our system of government to fairly represent and protect us.
“We were also reminded that our prized democratic freedoms are not equitably distributed. The striking contrast between the police response to yesterday’s riot, and their handling of last summer’s protests, served to highlight the concerns about systemic racism that animated those protests. In Lafayette Park last June, largely nonviolent protesters against racial injustice, many of them Black, were forcibly dispersed from a public park with tear gas in a clash that left a number of them injured. At the Capitol, the primarily white insurrectionists who smashed windows to break into and vandalize a federal building were able to wander freely within and to depart with little interference.”