Dear campus community,
Earlier this week, Governor Hogan joined Virginia Governor Northam and DC Mayor Bowser in making a joint statement about the upcoming presidential inauguration of Joseph R. Biden Jr., the nation’s 46th president. Senator Kamala Harris, the first female, the first African American and the first Asian American vice president, and the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history, will also be sworn in on January 20, 2021.
The joint statement said:
“Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the 59th Presidential Inauguration, including last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the extraordinary step of encouraging Americans not to come to Washington, DC and to instead participate virtually.”
I firmly believe this is the right message to send, as health and safety must be paramount in this historic moment. I echo this call to avoid crowds and participate virtually as we continue to do all we can to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and in the wake of the violent and deadly Capitol riot, which I condemn and find abhorrent.
Making this request of you is sobering. The Capitol dome, an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy, sits just 10 miles from our campus. I have fond memories of attending past presidential inaugurations with my family, and I know many of you may wish to be present to witness history. But this year, we should heed the guidance of our elected officials and forgo in-person participation in this American tradition, and instead honor our democracy and protect the health of our communities by participating from home.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland