Henry Ford College President
Russell A. Kavalhuna, J.D.

The College's sixth president, Mr. Kavalhuna is leading the way in creating affordable access to excellent higher education for all students. His mission is to promote an HFC education as a gateway to the middle class, and a gem in the Midwest.

Presidential Communications: Building Respect and Defeating Hate

November 2018

HFC Students, Colleagues, and Teammates,

We have all been affected by the recent stories of hate-based violence and killings of people who were targeted because of their religious beliefs, the color of their skin, or other personal characteristics. Like you, I am disturbed and saddened by these events, and by how often they have taken place.

We, as a society, are better than what these acts portray. These acts tear at the fabric of our shared community in this country that is so important to us.

If you need to speak to someone about recent events, please reach out to our Counseling Center for confidential, caring assistance. If you are an employee, please contact HR about our Employee Assistance Program or other resources.

If you see me on campus, feel free to talk to me about this. I want to understand your concerns and learn how I can support each of you.

The kind of community we want to be

At Henry Ford College, we are proud to be a welcoming and diverse community. This is a core reason that I came to HFC as president. Our campuses are places where we can all grow, learn, and thrive.

To be the kind of community we want to be, we all have to work at it. This begins with a commitment to treat each other with respect, all the time. Our College is stronger because we embrace a culture of diversity that teaches about and celebrates differences. We are a richer community precisely because of our diverse races, genders, identities, beliefs, ethnicities, countries of origin, ages, abilities, and other characteristics.

This work can be hard, but it is essential to our educational mission. Indeed, true learning occurs when we work to understand and respect each other—despite our differences. When we disagree, yet truly listen to differing points of view, we grow stronger and more knowledgeable as a community. So join me in recognizing and countering divisiveness before it becomes hate.

Honoring those who have lost their lives

Do not let hate or intolerance silently grow. Speak up on the rare occasion that you witness acts of hatred, intolerance, or other destructive behavior. Bring your concerns to Campus Safety, Student Affairs, HR, or another campus official. Support and honor our inclusive culture through your daily actions and care for others. Your simple acts of kindness will be exactly the encouragement that others need to be their best selves, while deflecting hatred. What you do, as an individual, matters more than anyone can say.

Together, we can honor those who have been attacked and those who have lost their lives by working to defeat hate, while sustaining our culture of respect. We will make Henry Ford College an example of a welcoming, thriving community.

Russ Kavalhuna
President, Henry Ford College