Statement on Charlottesville
August 14, 2017
Dear Students, Staff and Faculty:
Like millions of people throughout the world, I was shocked and saddened by the actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. Their racist and anti-Semitic acts of intimidation and domestic terrorism are deplorable to all people of good will and conscience.
I join so many others in standing with the University of Virginia and the citizens of Charlottesville. As Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said, “The nation is speaking with one voice about what they saw here and what needs to happen next.”
We, the Smith community, reaffirm our unequivocal commitments to diversity, inclusion, equity, and the dignity and worth of all people. Free speech is at the core of our educational enterprise, and we will never tolerate hate speech that incites violence.
Values like these draw white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups to demonstrate in college and university towns. As the Southern Poverty Law Center has written, “College campuses are clearly on the frontline of the alt-right’s battle against multiculturalism...[Campuses] are home to the highest ideals of human rights.” I pledge to each of you my full and unwavering commitment to your freedom to study, teach, work and live at Smith College in a climate of safety and respect.
We are a remarkable community, a resilient community, and a community united against hate. At a time of darkness, sadness and confusion, we draw on these strengths. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., taught, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Let us raise our voices together, now more than ever.