News | Administration

Spar signs letter to Trump denouncing acts of violence, hatred in America

Barnard President Debora Spar signed a letter issued by university and college presidents across the U.S. calling on President-elect Donald Trump to denounce and prevent acts of violence and hatred.

The letter, which was first published by Insider Higher Ed, comes on the heels of a number of hate crimes on college campuses following Trump’s election, including an incident at the University of Pennsylvania, where a group of black first-years were added to a GroupMe with racist content that also invoked Trump’s name.

The list of 110 signatories also includes presidents from mostly liberal arts colleges such as Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Amherst, Middlebury, Pomona, Wesleyan, and Vassar. University President Lee Bollinger is not among the signatories, though he publicly condemned Trump at the Hamilton Award Dinner last Thursday.

The letter can be read in full below.

Dear President-elect Trump,

As do you, we “seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.” In order to maintain the trust required for such productive engagement, it is essential that we immediately reaffirm the core values of our democratic nation: human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination. As college and university presidents, we commit ourselves to promoting these values on our campuses and in our communities, and we stand alongside the business, nonprofit, religious and civic leaders who are doing the same in organizations large and small.

In light of your pledge to be “President for all Americans,” we urge you to condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name, which is now synonymous with our nation’s highest office. In our schools, on job sites and college campuses, on public streets and in coffee shops, members of our communities, our children, our families, our neighbors, our students and our employees are facing very real threats, and are frightened.

One of the roles of leaders is to protect and empower the most vulnerable. As president-elect, this responsibility rests heavily on you. Let this be a mark of your leadership.

jclara.chan@columbiaspectator.com | @jclarachan

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