Dear Nova Nation:
I was three years old when Villanova played in the 1985 National Championship game. I might not remember a single second of that underdog victory, but the legend of that team was part of my childhood indoctrination as a Villanova fan. With two alumni parents, it was impossible not to be a ‘Nova fan growing up.
Watching Villanova win two out of the past three National Championships has been simply amazing. These teams proved that a little Catholic school from the Main Line could compete with the big guys, in a new Big East conference, without football money, without academic scandal, without superstar one and done players. I’m so proud to be a Villanovan, for my undergrad and law school.
I know we are all still basking in this week’s win. However, it was brought to my attention that some Villanova fans posted a banner near campus that said, “The only lead @mich will have is in its water.” My elation turned to shame. As a current resident of Michigan, I was horrified that anyone from my beloved university would think it was acceptable to mock the Flint water crisis.
The Flint water crisis is ongoing and horrific. An entire American city was poisoned. People died. An entire generation of children will experience the effects of lead exposure at a young age, including impaired cognition, behavioral disorders, hearing problems and delayed puberty. The city still four years later does not have clean water and the problems will not stop once clean water reaches the city’s faucets. The health problems caused by lead exposure are cumulative and incurable.
Villanovans, this is not us. We are better than this. This goes against our core Augustinian values of veritas, unitas, caritas. Truth, unity, love. Our values mean nothing if we abandon them to make a cheap and tasteless joke about a sporting event. (And to the students who put up this sign, you might want to take a geography class, because Ann Arbor and Flint are not exactly neighboring cities.)
I know we are all opening our wallets right now to buy 2018 Championship hats and shirts and reprints of the front page of the Daily News. (It’s not just me, right?) All I ask is that you open your wallets once more and donate a few dollars to help the children of Flint, MI. I set up a Crowdrise fundraiser for the Foundation for Flint, a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint that was established to serve the long-term health and development needs of the City of Flint.
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