President Leo Lambert and SGA President Welsford Bishopric released this statement on Chick-fil-A via email:
Dear students, faculty and staff,
Today's communication from the Board of Trustees calls upon our community to further commit ourselves to building a campus climate of respectful and meaningful civic dialogue.
Our university has a strong history of engagement. Those of us who have been deeply involved in this year's debate have experienced the growth that occurs when we engage with one another on complicated and difficult issues and consider all points of view. Yet this intense campus conversation demonstrates that we have significant room for improvement in promoting thoughtful consideration of difficult and often very personal societal issues.
We must find ways to more effectively immerse ourselves in these conversations in every facet of campus life, from classrooms, to residence halls, to group discussions, and our day-to-day personal interactions. By committing ourselves to exploration of a diversity of ideas and perspectives, we embrace Elon's mission of "freedom of thought and liberty of conscience" and better understand our roles as citizens of the 21st century.
Like the Trustees, we believe it is important for our community to seize this opportunity and build on the lessons we have learned over the past several months. Toward that end, with the recommendation of the Vendor Policy Study Committee in mind, we will ask Elon's Council on Civic Engagement to begin work immediately on a plan to develop civic education initiatives for 2013-2014. The goal will be to enhance Elon's intellectual climate and better prepare us to engage in these important and formative conversations. The ability to learn from the experiences of each other is one of the university's primary purposes. Our success will depend on the good will and involvement of all.
We will always have differences. When we engage those differences constructively, societal progress is advanced. As one student told the Vendor Policy Study Committee, "We are the keepers of what is and is not respectful dialogue. We should be vigilant in ensuring this is practiced on campus and committed to each other in this regard." We ask all students, faculty and staff to join us in creating such an environment.
Leo M. Lambert, president, Elon University
Welsford Bishopric, president, Elon Student Government Association