With the Spring 2021 semester now underway, we come together as a learning community to engage in higher education. The unique Norwich experience creates constructive citizens who are more likely to lead others, vote, participate in public debate, and reject political cynicism.
With the pending inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, the FBI is warning that marches and demonstrations are planned in all 50 state capitols from January 16th to Inauguration day on January 20th. On January 12th, Vermont Governor Phil Scott implored Vermonters planning to participate that while they have the right to demonstrate, he warned: “Don't be played. Don't be used as a pawn by some of these extreme groups that are planning these protests around our nation to undermine our democracy; to overthrow our government.” He also said that Vermonters should be aware of the motivations of organizers if they choose to protest.
I am sharing this note to remind us all that we need to live the Norwich values of respect for the law, respectful discourse, and informed decision-making. You have the right to have your voice heard, and you have the critical thinking skills to know what you are doing and why you are doing it. You have the knowledge and the tools to be a critical consumer of the information circulating in traditional and social media.
What you do in person extends to how you represent yourself online and on social media sites. In this digital age of instantaneous communication, I remind you that our Guiding Values extend to online behavior. Norwich University is a place of great expertise in criminal justice, cybersecurity, and mis-and disinformation campaigns. Avail yourself of these excellent resources if you have questions. We have world-class resources here at Norwich University and should be using them! Our faculty and academic advisors can help direct you to expert resources on just about any topic so please take advantage.
We are citizens of the greatest democracy in human history, and the eyes of the world are on us. Democracy requires citizen participation, but it must be informed and knowledgeable and never resort to violence. Norwich University is an international learning community, where knowledge is celebrated, and diversity of thought is valued and vigorously defended.
Three days ago, I asked you to join me in ensuring Norwich University plays our part in restoring our national character. Today, I remind you that every moment is a choice you make about how you will activate your citizenship and exercise service to nation.
As I have said before: Together, as men and women of honor and integrity, let us engage ourselves in teaching and learning, emphasizing teamwork, leadership, creativity, and critical thinking this semester. We are in service to our great nation, and through our service we will emerge from the current challenges stronger and more resolute.
Norwich Together, Norwich Forever!
Dr. Mark C. Anarumo, PhD
Colonel, USAF (ret) President