A Message from President Michel

The last few months and especially the last few weeks have been troubling times for our nation and the world. The coronavirus has challenged us, as it impacts our daily lives and leaves loved ones at risk. Then came the tragic and deeply disturbing death of George Floyd. I hope you have watched the video, and then watched it again. Yes, it is uncomfortable and painful to comprehend, but we must confront ourselves with the harsh reality of the world around us. This is not a time to look away. The killing of George Floyd is only the latest in a series of senseless deaths that has brought into focus the systemic racism and inequality that grips our nation. That a portion of our population lives in constant fear, a fear that is compounded by a sense of hopelessness, is both amoral and unacceptable.

The pandemic has captured our attention and our actions over the last few months but it will pass, as vaccines are developed and treatments are enhanced. The racism and inequality that haunts our society will be more difficult to deal with and will take longer to resolve. We should all be concerned. Individually we may feel powerless but as a community we can make a difference.

We should ask ourselves, “What can the Webb family do?” We can begin through self-reflection – by assessing our own biases, both conscious and unconscious. We can aspire to acts of kindness and respect. In our Strategic Plan adopted by the Board last August, we renewed our commitment to enhance diversity and inclusivity at our college. When we gather together again this fall, we will discuss what this means. How do we foster greater inclusivity at Webb while in the broader sense, confront injustice and inequality in the world around us? I look forward to engaging with all members of the Webb community as we work together to make a difference.

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Keith Michel ’73
Webb Institute