This email was sent from Dean Thomas J. Miles to faculty, staff, and students of the Law School on January 6, 2021.
Dear Colleagues and Students,
Today we saw appalling scenes of the storming of our Capitol and the disruption of the certification of the results of a Presidential election.
Regardless of one’s political views, we should condemn these actions. At the University of Chicago, we understand the distinction between protest and disruption. Protests and public demonstrations by groups and individuals have an important role in our discourse both at the University and in our democracy. But disruptions that obstruct, impair, and interfere with conduct of public officials’ legal duties are contrary to our values. Their disruption through acts of violence is shameful.
As students and scholars of the law, we believe in the institutions and processes of law and in the resolution of disputes through reasoned discourse and evidence. We respect the decisions of courts and the lawful and orderly operation of our government. Today’s events may heighten the sense of anxiety that many of us have felt, especially during the past year with a pandemic and a polarized election.
At the same time, these events remind us of and impart new meaning to the work that we do at the Law School. As members of the University community, we have a special appreciation of the impact that ideas and words may have on our world. The study of law and the training of lawyers sustain our legal institutions and our democratic norms. Our country has an admirable history of peaceful and civil transitions of power, in part because the community of lawyers is dedicated to our Constitution and the rule of law.
Elected officials on both sides of the aisle have committed to move forward quickly with the process of certifying the election results and facilitating a peaceful transition of power. I hope that our nation will promptly overcome the challenges of the moment and that our faith in law will be renewed.