VC Voice | Friday, 26th May 2017

Adversity strengthens our unity

As we deal with the aftermath of the horrific attack at the Manchester Arena, a solemn mood hangs over our city. Yet there is also a feeling of solidarity, resilience and determination. I commented in the immediate aftermath of the attack that the Manchester spirit is strong. As has been demonstrated throughout the week in so many acts of compassion and kindness, adversity simply strengthens our unity: we will never submit to hate.

I feel incredibly proud of the way in which members of the University -  staff and students alike - have responded throughout this extremely difficult week with the utmost degree of professionalism.

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were killed or injured in the attack. Indeed, some members of our own staff and student community have tragically lost loved ones.  Many had attended the concert and others were close by. We will do all that we can to provide support during this painful time.

My thoughts are also with students who are currently taking exams, which are continuing as scheduled. We understand the need for some flexibility during such difficult circumstances, and we have put in place processes to assist those who have been adversely impacted.

I have written a number of thank you letters to members of the University who have worked exceptionally hard this week to ensure the safety of the campus and the smooth running of our operations.  I would like to extend my gratitude to everybody for their spirit of cooperation and togetherness. In so many different ways we have witnessed the very best of our University and our city in response to the atrocity.

Many colleagues and students attended the vigil in Albert Square, paid their respects in St Ann’s Square, and observed the minute’s silence. I hope that the families and loved ones of the victims of the attack can take some comfort and strength from these acts of respect and remembrance. They reinforce our determination to stand together and they send a powerful message to the world.

This weekend more than 460 of you will be taking part in the Great Manchester Run and many more will be cheering on our runners from the sidelines. The decision to hold this event, to raise money for local charities, is a strong statement from our community that we refuse to be intimidated. It will be a huge demonstration of the Manchester spirit that I refer to above.

Over the days and months ahead, we must continue to come together within our University and across our region to ensure that the solidarity that we have witnessed over the past few days endures.  Through our research and education, we will continue to work passionately to break down societal barriers and to promote a cohesive society where everyone can fulfill their potential and make a contribution for the greater good.

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