Our hearts broke this weekend as we watched expressions of racism, anti-Semitism, and hatred on the University of Virginia campus result in violence. We are especially saddened by the death of one activist and the wounding of others. Expressions of racism and hatred paired with violent actions are not new in our country. Our history shows that marchers armed with guns and sticks, carrying shields and torches, and chanting Nazi slogans have but one purpose: to strike fear and terror in the hearts of people of color, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, and all who believe in a more inclusive America.
To remain silent in the face of hatred is to be complicit in that hatred. Therefore, we will not remain silent while white supremacists, emboldened by the rhetoric of the Trump administration, perpetrate violence and incite bigotry. After equivocating, the President has finally denounced the KKK, the Nazis, and other white supremacist groups. But he and his administration must do more. We call on the Trump administration to use all of the forces at its disposal to bring to justice those involved in fomenting violence and terror. Further, we call on the President and his administration to denounce all attempts to equate nonviolent protests like Black Lives Matter with violent hate groups.
We decry the violence, the discrimination, and the attempts to intimidate, silence, and harm our students, educators, and community members. We reject racism and white supremacy. We stand with students, educators, their families, and communities across the country working for equitable and welcoming environments where it is safe to exist, learn, and peacefully disagree and debate. We will work with faculty members, students, and college leaders, uniting and organizing with allies and in our communities to resist hate and fight for a just society.
Rudy Fichtenbaum, AAUP president
Henry Reichman, AAUP first vice president