Westminster College President Beth Dobkin responded to the violent protest outside the U.S. Capitol Wednesday while Congress prepared to certify the presidential election, calling it “an attempt to subvert democratic processes.”
After the chaos within the nation’s capital subsided — which forced an emergency recess and a shelter-in-place for Congressmembers inside the building — D.C. police reported Wednesday night it had recovered five weapons and arrested 13 people. One woman was shot and killed.
“The actions were horrifying but not unanticipated,” Dobkin said in a statement. “As a citizenry, some of us have been too willing to ignore patterns of words and deeds, to selectively consider facts and recall history, and to undermine the very institutions that have the potential to bring our country together.”
Protests rejecting the results of the 2020 election were not unique to Washington. Several Trump supporters gathered at the Utah Capitol at the same time, chanting about election fraud and the coronavirus pandemic being a “hoax.” Both claims are unsubstantiated and unsupported by evidence.
The protest in Salt Lake City resulted in counter-protests by members of the Black Lives Matter movement.
One photojournalist from the Salt Lake Tribune was pepper-sprayed by a protester who was reportedly upset he was documenting the event. Another protester was filmed telling journalists they should be “hung on the spot.”
In response, President Dobkin said it’s crucial to “sustain democracy” — noting that Westminster is an institution that plays a crucial role in that process.
“Westminster plays an essential role in sustaining democracy by fostering ethical, informed, and engaged deliberation, care and compassion for others, and equitable opportunities for all,” she said. “Learning means understanding the past so that we can create a better future. It includes taking accountability for our words and understanding the impact of actions not just on our own lives, but others as well.”