Wash­ing­ton Col­lege re­acts to vi­o­lence Char­lottesville

Record Observer - - News - By DO­RIAN MITCHELL

CHESTERTOWN — Wash­ing­ton Col­lege re­leased dual state­ments on the re­cent events in Char­lottesville, Va., de­nounc­ing the vi­o­lence and hate that led to three deaths.

Marchers — com­pris­ing white su­prem­a­cists, white na­tion­al­ists, neo-Nazis and KKK mem­bers — were at the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia cam­pus Fri­day, Aug. 11, car­ry­ing torches and chant­ing slo­gans such as “white lives mat­ter.” to protest the re­moval of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee the fol­low­ing day, they clashed with counter-demon­stra­tors.

A speed­ing ve­hi­cle crashed into a group protest­ing racism as the “Unite the Right” rally con­tin­ued Aug. 12, killing 32 year-old Heather Heyer and in­jur­ing 19 oth­ers. A po­lice he­li­copter also crashed while en route to the rally Aug. 12, tak­ing the lives of two Vir­ginia state troop­ers.

On Aug. 17, Wash­ing­ton Col­lege Pres­i­dent Kurt Land­graf and the fac­ulty is­sued state­ments de­nounc­ing the vi­o­lence and hate­ful rhetoric of the “Unite the Right” par­tic­i­pants.

“For cen­turies, race and in­tol­er­ances have been com­pli­cated el­e­ments in defin­ing who are we are as a na­tion. Now, the world has wit­nessed the events in Char­lottesville, and it’s time for all of us to speak out, loud and clear: ‘This is not who we are,’” Land­graf said in a state­ment.

“I am dis­gusted by the vi­o­lence and hate that we have seen and con­tinue to en­dure. There is no place for this in our coun­try. No mat­ter your po­lit­i­cal views, all of us could agree that these ac­tions threaten the foun­da­tional val­ues of this great coun­try and who we are as a peo­ple. Our his­tory demon­strates there is power be­hind non­vi­o­lence, progress in ra­tio­nal di­a­logue, and mu­tual un­der­stand­ing in com­pas­sion,” he said.

Land­graf made clear the col­lege “will not tol­er­ate this move­ment of anger and hate — on cam­pus or in the com­mu­nity.”

“As the first col­lege in a new na­tion, we have an im­por­tant role to play in ed­u­cat­ing our stu­dents that their fu­ture role as thought­ful cit­i­zens and lead­ers of this coun­try re­quires courage and a moral com­pass. We can be­gin by mak­ing clear that to­day, si­lence is not an op­tion when faced with in­tol­er­ance, racism, hate and vi­o­lence,” he said.

The col­lege’s fac­ulty coun­cil, led by Chair­man Clay­ton Black, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of his­tory, joined Land­graf in con­demn­ing the in­tol­er­ance on dis­play by sup­port­ers and par­tic­i­pants of the “Unite the Right” rally.

“In light of the in­ci­dents at the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia on Au­gust 10-12, 2017, we, the fac­ulty of Wash­ing­ton Col­lege, reaf­firm our ad­her­ence to the val­ues of in­tegrity, de­ter­mi­na­tion, cu­rios­ity, ci­vil­ity, lead­er­ship, and moral courage ex­pressed in our Mis­sion State­ment. We con­demn all ef­forts to mas­quer­ade big­otry and prej­u­dice as merely ex­pres­sions of ‘free speech’ and com­mit our­selves and our in­sti­tu­tion to act­ing as a force for se­cur­ing and fur­ther­ing the equal­ity of all peo­ples, re­gard­less of race, gen­der, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, coun­try of ori­gin, re­li­gion, phys­i­cal abil­ity, or class,” the fac­ulty coun­cil’s state­ment reads.

“As schol­ars, we ac­cept that the free and open ex­change of ideas from mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives is the surest means of achiev­ing truth­ful propo­si­tions. Tol­er­ance of al­ter­na­tive views is a pre­con­di­tion for such an ex­change, and Wash­ing­ton Col­lege will al­ways be a place where ideas are chal­lenged and de­bated. We af­firm the equal­ity of all peo­ples; but we re­ject the equal­ity of all ideas or ide­olo­gies as sim­ply dif­fer­ent-but-equal ‘points of view’ when they pro­mote dis­crim­i­na­tion, ex­clu­siv­ity, or in­tol­er­ance. Ob­scu­ran­tism and ap­peals to prej­u­dice are not wel­come at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege,” the fac­ulty coun­cil wrote.

PHOTO BY DANIEL DIVILIO

The pres­i­dent of Wash­ing­ton Col­lege and the fac­ulty coun­cil have re­leased state­ments con­demn­ing the hate groups that marched Aug. 11 and 12 un­der the “Unite the Right” ban­ner in Char­lottesville, Va.

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