Message to University Community Sharing His Personal Viewpoint

June 2, 2020

The Clarkson Community received a joint communication Sunday afternoon from faculty, student, administration and alumni leaders to ask all of us to come together for a united response to the national crisis facing our black community.  I genuinely believe our institution and our community want to bring support to those hurting. And I genuinely believe we are a community with the collective talents, values, willpower and service to create the change we want to see -- a society free from racism and safe for all.

Some have reached out to me to understand my personal feelings and not just the institutional response.  I want to thank those individuals for their candor and motives for asking me to share my viewpoint.  

To say I am disheartened is not nearly a strong enough word, but it speaks to my reaction and the dismal contrast between where I see the world could be and its current reality in terms of racial equality.

My wife, Karen, and I began Memorial Day last week by talking with our grandchildren about what that weekend means and thinking with optimism about our work underway by the Restart Task Force to bring our community back to the Potsdam and other campuses this fall. Karen and I also began reminiscing about the first launches from the Kennedy Space Center that we both recalled as college students in the late 60’s and early 70’s as we talked with excitement about the opportunity to tune in to Tesla’s SpaceX launch.  

Our short work week began the next day with the death of George Floyd in the news and the gruesome reality of the video that told us that the calls for social justice we knew as college students that demanded better treatment of our black community has not changed in the last 50 years.  How can that be?  Look at all that we can do when we put our mindset and skill sets to advancing science and technology.  The world is not a better place unless we do the same for racial social justice.  

The black community, that includes Clarkson alumni, needs to hear clearly that we stand with them and that we care.   We must condemn injustice, violence, and institutionalized racism.  None of us can be free and equal unless we are all free and equal. We stand in solidarity with the black community and will continue to listen, to learn, and to work towards a better future.

In the coming days you will see more communications that indicate the actions we are taking to achieve our goal. 

President Tony Collins

Message Following Community Forum on Racism

June 5, 2020

Black Lives Do Matter. On behalf of the Clarkson community and from myself, thank you to those who spoke openly and honestly and to those who listened in last night’s Community Forum on Racism. We will address racism on campus by examining ourselves and our community, taking action, and holding ourselves accountable. Change will occur and that change should not be feared but should be embraced and celebrated by all because the change will make us a better, more inclusive community that will more reflect our community and world now and in the future. That was the message delivered and received by the Clarkson community and will be acted upon.  

There will be more communication from the faculty, staff and student organizers of the Community Forum that will follow. Again, my thanks.  

President Tony Collins