A Special Message for our Pilot Community | University of Portland

A Special Message for our Pilot Community

April 12, 2022

Dear University of Portland Community, 

I write to you about events that have recently arisen in Lund Family Hall. This is a lengthy message, but this subject is important. I hope you will read this email in its entirety. 
As an initial matter, it is important to acknowledge and name how these events have been felt by members of our community. Some of our community members are hurting, angry, and may feel unwelcome. The acuity of these emotions demonstrates the significance of these events, and when conflict and hurt of this nature occurs in our community it needs to be addressed. 

In times of turbulence and discord, when the path forward is difficult to see, leaning on guiding beliefs and values is essential. So, what do UP’s values have to teach us in this case? 

First, UP is a community that views each and every individual as a beloved child of God, created in the image and likeness of God, and afforded a sacred dignity that no person has the capacity to challenge. This dignity is an essential aspect of human personhood. It exists regardless of an individual’s gender, sexual orientation, age, race, national origin, disability, or any other characteristic. Moreover, we cherish the fact that individuals of numerous faiths, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, political views, etc., call our University home. We welcome and embrace all children of God into our community, and we are committed to making sure that they feel supported, valued, and appreciated here on The Bluff. Any conduct that undermines or demeans human dignity, whether intentional or unintentional, stands opposed to our Catholic, Holy Cross mission and values.

Second, ours is a community that responds in productive, thoughtful, and positive ways when confronted with tension. This is critical to who we are as an institution rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts. Insults, vulgarities, and looking for the worst in people might lead to short-term, instantaneous satisfaction. Ultimately though, such negative reactions and actions corrode a community, they drive people apart, and they run counter to who we are. When community members take to social media to mock, demean, and curse others, nobody wins—neither the person making the insult nor its intended target. Any conduct that imperils respectful dialogue and sows division between community members stands opposed to our Catholic, Holy Cross mission and values. 

Third, our great undertaking as a Catholic, Holy Cross institution is to live out our values in an authentic way, while also welcoming all who call The Bluff their home. This work is hard. We have been working on it for 121 years and we will be working on it for as long as UP exists. Whether we are Catholic, of another Christian denomination, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, of any other religion, or of no faith tradition at all, we will find a way to engage in this undertaking together. Any conduct that impairs our ability to welcome, accompany, and support the members of our community stands opposed to our Catholic, Holy Cross mission and values. 

These are core values of our Catholic, Holy Cross mission. As our semester comes to an end, I humbly ask everyone to remember that we are part of a cherished, beloved community. We talk to one another. We celebrate each other in times of triumph. We support each other in times of struggle. We disagree with each other respectfully. We apologize when we have made mistakes and hurt others. We are a loving, imperfect family in which we continue to learn from one another and help our community grow into a better version of itself.
Sincerely Yours,      
Herbert A. Medina
Acting President