Conboy releases statement following deadly Capitol Hill attack
Observer Staff Report | Friday, January 8, 2021
College President Katie Conboy released a statement in response to Wednesday’s violent congregation of rioters on Capitol Hill objecting to election results — due to allegations of election fraud by President Donald Trump and other Republicans. Those assembled eventually broke into the Capitol Building, temporarily interrupting congressional certification of Joe Biden as president-elect.
Conboy expressed her shock in the actions of those who breached the Capitol Building.
“I am sure that many of you were — as I was — glued to your television screens late into last night as we struggled to understand how our Capitol could be violently invaded,” Conboy said. “Whatever political views you hold, I expect you experienced shock and dismay as you watched actions that were an assault on both our democratic ideals and our Saint Mary’s values.”
However, Conboy shared her hopefulness at the bipartisanship shown by congressional representatives as they finished certifying election results in favor of Joe Biden.
“Last night, I began to feel a little miracle as one congressional leader after another recommitted to the US Constitution and expressed incredulity, outrage and sadness,” Conboy said. “They reached across the aisle in a way we haven’t seen in recent times. They revisited — with remarkable unity — the job they had in front of them and reminded each other of what was not in their job as well.”
In addition, Conboy urged the community to use education as a tool to actively safeguard democracy.
“[Wednesday] was also a reminder of the importance of education — the sacred work we undertake each day,” she said. “And at Saint Mary’s, where we dedicate ourselves to the core values of learning, community, faith/spirituality and justice, we have a special opportunity to become the kinds of citizens who will serve and protect our democracy and who will not be bystanders.”
Conboy said she and the Sisters of the Holy Cross implore all people to practice non-violence.
“We join with the Sisters of the Holy Cross, who today called for a commitment to non-violence, urging all people ‘to work and pray for a peaceful solution to the divisions within that democracy, which culminated in such chaos, hateful rhetoric, exploitation and violence,’” she said.
Reflecting on the College’s Dialogue and Civil Discourse Project, Conboy emphasized the importance of the project’s goals to improve dialogue.
“[Wednesday’s] events were a reminder that our communities, our nation and the world can be better because of what we do right here,” she said.
Conboy also asked community members to seek out the truth and remain optimistic about the democratic system.
“As President of Saint Mary’s, I encourage everyone connected to the College to embrace a unifying and hopeful outlook for our future,” she said. “Our democracy is not perfect, and yesterday’s events remind us that it is fragile. Seek truth. Demand facts. Accept that our system, even with imperfections, works. Build hope for a new generation who desperately need our perspective and our optimism. You can lead from wherever you are, and I hope you will.”
Conboy reminded students that the College is available to help students following the events on Capitol Hill.
“Students, please know that you can reach out to trusted people at the College, including me,” she said. “We are here to help you to process what you experienced yesterday. Importantly, you should know that the telehealth services associated with SMC Care are available to you, even during the break and from wherever you are.”