Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, Ph.D., marked the beginning of the academic year Wednesday by recognizing distinguished faculty. First, he delivered an unwavering message about the university’s values.
“As a research university we have to continue to be mindful of the fact that we are leading in a very challenging time,” Rao said at VCU’s Opening Faculty Address and Convocation. “In light of a lot of things that have gone on in the last week or two, I want you to know that I absolutely abhor racism. I abhor anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, sexism, genderism, ageism and religious intolerance. I will not accept these anywhere at VCU, and violence or discrimination toward others simply because of who they are is unacceptable at our institution.”
Rao’s remarks, typically congratulatory and light at the annual gathering to recognize notable faculty, were still lofty but also resolute Wednesday following the Aug. 11-12 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
“As a faculty I call on every one of us to come together to address the most challenging issue we face as human beings, and to do it together,” Rao said. “We have a vision of what the human experience needs to be, and we need to share that vision and continue to live in ways that enable us to be very strong in our commitment to realize this vision.”