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Editorial columns

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Gary Varvel l Indianapolis Star

Manchester a worthy D.C. blueprint

Colleges and universities across the nation have mission statements and values statements. At Manchester and many other schools, these statements reflect our heritage and continually guide us. They aren’t just words on a poster. Instead, they sit on my desktop, and every time I look at my computer screen, those values look back at me.

As the government shutdown continues, I am struck with the ways that our political leaders might benefit from a review of the values of the university where I work.

Our statement lifts up six values that would, if applied by our leaders in Washington, end the government shutdown and prompt genuine listening.

Learning, to equip our graduates to live productive and principled lives

Faith, because diverse faiths call us to establish justice and build peace amid strife

Service, to connect faith with action and abilities with convictions

Integrity, because honesty and trust are the foundations of enduring relationships and strong communities

Diversity, because understanding differences develops respect for differences and appreciation for the infinite worth of every person

Community, to sharpen self-identify, promote responsible citizenship and transform conflict into mutual respect

As I look at the Manchester University values statement, I know that scores like it at other colleges and universities also emphasize respect, justice and transformation of conflict into mutual respect. Members of Congress have much to remember of what they were taught at the colleges and universities they attended.

The people of this nation deserve more than a government shutdown. We deserve representatives who hold strong principles and who also listen and compromise for the good of the whole. We deserve representatives who respect their opponents even when they disagree. George Washington did that. Abraham Lincoln did that. Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter did that.

If we believe there are better resolutions to problems than line-in-the-sand government closing, we also have the responsibility to let our representatives know what we believe. And we need to do it today.

Jo Young Switzer is president of Manchester University. She wrote this for Indiana newspapers.

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