Digital History at Ursinus

"Campus Memo," November 19, 1991

Dublin Core


"Campus Memo," November 19, 1991


President Richter indirectly addresses the 1991 GALA letters.


Richter calls for unity amidst diversity, stating that "civility evokes reasonable language and action."


Richard P. Richter


The Grizzly


Ursinus College


November 19, 1991

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UNITY/DIVERSITY: "That they may all be one." That is the motto of the United Church of Christ, with which Ursinus is associated.
There is another phrase central in the UCC: "Unity amidst diversity."
From this religious perspective, all human beings are precious as individual parts of the human community.
This viewpoint allows you to see in another what you see in yourself--a fallible human being who is coping self-consciously with the common condition of birth, growth, maturation, and mortality. You see this not just in others who look like you, live where you live, or behave like you but in everyone.
Obviously, you have your own special identity--your own race, your own class, your own gender, your own private preferences, your own tastes and convictions. So do all others. And from all those special identities arises the amazing variety of human appreance and experience.
It would be impossible for you to align yourself with all that human vareity in equal measure. On your personal level, you have the right--indeed, the psychological necessity--to choose friends, styles, politics, modes of expression.
So do all others.
You are united with others, then, not because the details of your life are the same as theirs but because you share the esssential process of self-realization as a human being who is inescapably in a community.
Being united with others does not eliminate your need or theirs to make moral decisions about right and wrong behavior. Being united with them, rather, means that you and they are engaged in the fundamentally human process of pursuing a moral life--each one in his or her own way.
From this perspective, you can embrace human diversity without denying your own sense of right and wrong. You can affirm yourself better because you also affirm your essential relationship with others.
It is easy to make these moralistic assertions. It is more difficult to live them out on a campus and at large. But a social atmosphere permeated with the idea "that they may all be one" make it possible. In such an atmosphere, the mutual respect of people wo differ creates civility. Civility evokes reasonable language and action among them and eschews outrageous difference in words and deeds.
The members of a whole and healthy community can derive a kind of enjoyment from living with "unity amidst diversity." It is a vision well worth contemplating as life at Ursinus goes forward.


Campus Memo Nov 19 1991 .jpg



Richard P. Richter , “"Campus Memo," November 19, 1991 ,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed July 14, 2020,