As the political campaign season progresses and in light of recent events at campuses around the country, Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert today issued the following statement:
“I think now is an appropriate time for me as the new president of Marshall University to affirm our university’s commitment to openness, inclusiveness, respect and freedom of expression.
“I recently learned of the Marshall University Creed, which is expressed in the Student Handbook, and I was truly impressed with the values expressed there. The creed states that Marshall’s students, faculty and staff ‘strive to exemplify in our own lives the core values of John Marshall’s character…’ and goes on to say that we are an educational community, an open community, a civil community, a responsible community, a well community, an ethical community, a pluralistic community, a socially conscious community and a judicious community.
“I find that to be an incredibly powerful statement.
“At Marshall, we welcome and embrace all members of our university and local community, regardless of their national origin, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, veteran status or disabilities. We have no walls around our university and it is an open access campus.
“Furthermore, we endorse the First Amendment rights of our students, faculty and staff to express themselves in oral and written word, including chalking on our sidewalks. I suggest that we should treat each other with the respect with which we would all want to be treated. In the context of an institution of higher learning, I would also hope that we can exchange ideas and points of view in a civil manner that will inform and educate—even in those situations when we do not agree.
“I often find inspiration in the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who famously said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’”