A Post-Election Note from the College President

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dear BHCC Community,

I am moved to write to you today after a troubled year of racial strife, followed by an unprecedented election season. It has been four decades since I came to the United States with my family, drawn by educational opportunities and the idea of freedom. That dream has proven to be as idyllic as it was arduous. But it is not until this past year that I have witnessed, in full relief, the shining promise and the abysmal darkness in the making of the American Dream. Many at the College have wondered about our way forward. What path do we follow as individuals, and as a community of scholars?

We stand at a moment of convergence in our American experiment, a moment full of urgency that presses us to make choices that would seemingly either doom or save our future.  Fox, CNN, New York Times, Breitbart, NPR, the Boston Globe and a dozen other media outlets attend our day, yet the perspectives are far from clear.  How do we sort out the issues of race and gender, of immigration and citizenship, of extreme wealth and dire poverty, of rights and equity?  What do we make of the shootings of men and women, of police officers, of churchgoers, of children in the crossfire? How do we understand the lives and deaths of young men of color in America?  How do we take stock of the anxiety and fear in the heartland, of communities gripped by economic stagnation, yearning for a different vision of prosperity and nationhood?
 
These are the questions that shape our understanding of democracy; therein lies the conscience that defines the soul of our nation.  Difficult as they are, though, I am not afraid of these questions.  I fear only our impatience, our desire for expedience, and our penchant for simple solutions that assign easy answers to these complex human conditions.  I am also afraid of cynicism and despair, for it repudiates the potential for change, and is certainly anathema to the heart and hope of education.
 
I am convinced that as an institution of higher education, Bunker Hill Community College has a distinct responsibility in this American discourse.  It is our role to be the crucible that holds in equal measure all our diverse views and opinions, and it is our task to tend the intellectual fires that would test these ideas and forge solutions of deep understanding and lasting change.
 
It has long been a public trust for colleges to protect the freedom of ideas and the freedom of discourse.  So, as we have done in the past, we will continue to bring the totality of voices and opinions to the College. They will be compelling and difficult, inclusive and reflective, speaking to our similarities and our differences.  For Bunker Hill Community College, at this post-election moment, and for all the challenging moments going forward, this stewardship of the freedom of ideas shall be our beacon to our true north.  I invite you to join me in this journey.  We will surely have our ups and downs over the next few years, but we will have the hope of understanding to pave our way, and light of learning to travel by.
 
Pam Y. Eddinger, Ph.D.
President, Bunker Hill Community College