LETTER: Professor encouraged student attendance at DePauw Dialogue

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To the Editor,

While I fully appreciate that there are important questions of policy and principle involved in mandating attendance of various campus constituencies at an event, I can help but feel disappointed that the question of "coercion" seems to have eclipsed the serious issues that led us to canceling classes for a day. It's well-worth remembering that there is no "opt-out" for members of our community who face daily challenges because of elements of their personal identities. I hope that even those most skeptical of the event can find it within themselves to spare, out of a genuine desire to understand, a few hours this one day to listen with open minds.

This is a moment when we will show each other what kind of people we truly are. The call for this event comes largely from the worry, on the part of some of us, that the rest of us truly don't care what happens to them. Treating Wednesday as a "day off" will do nothing more than confirm them in those suspicions. I pray this community proves we are committed to rising above any image that we are an uncaring, unwelcoming place for some of our members.

John Caraher
Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy