Statement from President Mary C. Finger
January 7, 2021
The horrific insurrection at the United States Capitol yesterday and the assault on Congress, motivated and stirred by falsehoods about the Presidential election, undermine our democracy and the very tenets upon which our nation was founded. As a Catholic institution of higher education founded by the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill and whose patron is Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, we reject disinformation, violence, and messages rooted in falsehoods, hatred, and intolerance.
As a daughter of the American revolution, Elizabeth Seton experienced religious oppression, the pain of prejudice, and the frustration of opposition. With her Sisters of Charity, she was a truth seeker who laid the foundation for the Catholic School System in the United States.
Seton Hill’s mission as a Catholic, liberal arts institution in the tradition of Elizabeth Seton and the Sisters of Charity is to educate students to think and act critically, creatively, and ethically as productive members of society committed to transforming the world. Our mission is undergirded by Catholic Social Teaching. At the core of Catholic Social Teaching is the promotion of the common good and building a just society on the fundamental values of Truth, Freedom, Justice, and Love.
At this critical moment in our nation’s history, Seton Hill and the University’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education are launching The Eva Fleischner Program on Truth Finding. Named for Eva Fleischner, Ph.D., who was a pioneering Catholic theologian in Christian-Jewish relations and a longtime friend of Seton Hill, The Eva Fleischner Program on Truth Finding was created to examine and combat the use of misinformation in the rise of totalitarianism and fascist regimes.
Seton Hill will develop curriculum and programming that ensure students engage in rigorous analysis and transparent dialogue in order to develop the skills necessary to search for and recognize truth. The Eva Fleischner Program on Truth Finding will complement the efforts of the President’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which is charged with creating and ensuring an anti-racist campus culture that values the inherent dignity of every person.
Words matter. The truth matters. Seton Hill will sustain the University’s commitment to truth, inclusion, and respect for all members of our community. This work is our responsibility, especially in these challenging times, and ensures our University remains a sacred place grounded in the faith of our founders.
Mary C. Finger, Ed.D.