Dear Hofstra Chronicle,
I am writing this before the debate physically takes place so I can’t comment specifically on its content, but what I can comment on is the palpable excitement on campus during this momentous time in Hofstra University’s history. The past few days have truly demonstrated not only the collaborative nature that it took to make this debate happen from all areas of the University, but the passion that our students have for the issues and the opportunity to have a voice.
The world is watching Hofstra University and has been since we heard we were going to host the first 2016 presidential debate about 2 months ago. What an amazing time to be at Hofstra!
I was so proud to see how connected our students have been, even those not usually interested in politics. The robust slate of pre-debate programs organized at Hofstra provided an opportunity for students to learn from a variety of perspectives. As we were preparing for these programs, the debate, and the upcoming election, we encouraged students to get involved and engage respectfully, promoting the hashtag #ManyVoices1Pride.
Hofstra is a special place that brings together a diverse student population, a community with many different backgrounds and differing opinions. In order to capitalize on this rich diversity, we must be able to share and engage in a free and open exchange of ideas. I have seen so many examples of our students respectfully engaging in dialogue and I believe hosting the debate provided even more opportunities to do so.
There were several moments that stood out to me as I walked around campus on Debate Day. The first of these moments was watching students wake up really early to represent Hofstra and hold up signs for the early morning news broadcasts. One of these groups of students shed some light on recent violent acts in Black communities by wearing all black and linking arms in solidarity for a peaceful protest. I also saw students hold up signs and share their thoughts with reporters about many national topics of concern. Issue Alley was another place where student organizations shared their perspectives about the major issues impacting the United States of America and beyond. I was so proud of students who were using this international platform to express to the world their opinions on matters that were important to them. No matter which candidates or political parties students are favoring, the most important thing is for students to find their voices and participate actively in the political process.
We also had the wonderful opportunity to host 15 Wright State University students, who expressed to our Vice President for Student Affairs, W. Houston Dougharty how incredibly appreciative they were to spend time with Hofstra students, faculty and staff. They were impressed with the diversity of our campus community and with the generosity with which they were received. My favorite comment was how nice they thought New Yorkers were and of course, I am a New Yorker, so I think they should expect nothing less!
I share the sense of excitement that I have seen throughout this experience and have PRIDE in our students and PRIDE in our community. I am more committed than ever to ensuring that every student can find their voice at Hofstra and it’s a place where students can become the best version of themselves. I invite students to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have ideas on how we can do that – together.
Respectfully submitted by
Sofia Bautista Pertuz, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students
The views and opinions expressed in the Op-Ed section are those of the authors of the articles. They are not an endorsement of the views of The Chronicle or its staff. The Chronicle does not discriminate based on the opinions of the authors.