Election Message from Margaret Kasimatis, Interim Executive Vice President

Dear SMC Community, 

As you know, we are in the midst of a Presidential election season that has been more contentious than any in recent memory. In this difficult but also momentous time, I would like to share some thoughts and resources I hope will be helpful. 

First, I urge you to vote. Voting is foundational to a healthy democracy and is an essential component of engaged citizenship. If you are skeptical about the usefulness or security of voting, it may be helpful to remember that America has been holding elections for almost 250 years, even during very difficult times such as the Civil War. I should also note that this election is the most accessible in American history. Over 99% of Americans have options to vote before Election Day, either by mail or through in-person early voting. In California all registered voters have been mailed a ballot, which allows them the option of voting by mail, dropping off their ballot at a designated drop box or polling place, or voting in person. There is even a drop box at the entrance to the Saint Mary’s campus. 

I also want to acknowledge how divisive this election season has been. As a Lasallian, Catholic, and liberal arts institution, we are committed to the model of shared inquiry and civil discourse that undergirds our pedagogy. Grounded in the Lasallian core principles of inclusive community and respect for all persons, this model is characterized by thoughtful listening, a serious exchange of views, ensuring diverse viewpoints are heard, focusing on the issues rather than on the individual(s) espousing them, treating individuals with respect, and carefully analyzing interpretations and viewpoints based on logic and evidence. In this model there is no room for aggression or intolerance. 

Consistent with this model, Pope Francis said in his recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti

“At a time when various forms of fundamentalist intolerance are damaging relationships between individuals, groups and peoples, let us be committed to living and teaching the value of respect for others, a love capable of welcoming differences, and the priority of the dignity of every human being over his or her ideas, opinions, practices and even sins. Even as forms of fanaticism, closed mindedness and social and cultural fragmentation proliferate in present-day society, a good politician will take the first step and insist that different voices be heard.” 

Finally, I also want to recognize that many of you are experiencing a great deal of anxiety about the election. Many offices across campus have developed an array of programs and resources to support students, faculty, and staff, both prior to and after the election. 

Pre-election programs include: 

  • Preparing students for Election day and beyond
  • Gender Equity, the Election, and You
  • Pre-Election Open Conversation 

Post-election programs include: 

  • Interfaith Circle for Solidarity: Post Election--What are we being called to?
  • Black Lives Matter Post Election Community Check-In
  • Post-Election Open Conversation 

Other resources:

For more details, as well as a complete list of programs and resources, please click here. The website will be updated regularly. 

I am proud to be a member of the Saint’s Mary’s community, in which we care deeply about each other, as well as our impact on the world. 

Sincerely, 

 

Margaret Kasimatis, PhD

Interim Executive Vice President