Stanford leaders responded Tuesday to last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville with a letter addressed to students and postdoctoral scholars affirming that “racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry are antithetical to the values of our country and contrary to the fundamental ideals of Stanford.”
The letter, signed by three senior administrators – Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Harry Elam, Vice Provost for Graduate Education Patti Gumport and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Greg Boardman – expresses support for community members in the wake of Saturday protests by white nationalists that turned deadly after a car drove into counter-protestors, killing a woman and injuring 19 others.
“We, like many of you, have been watching the violent events and aftermath at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville with shock and concern,” the letter, posted on Stanford News, states.
The statement will not be emailed out to all students but is being distributed to campus groups, University spokesperson Lisa Lapin said over email.
The vice provosts note in their statement that colleges and their surrounding areas “continue to be a focus for hateful clashes.” The Charlottesville conflict began when torch-bearing protestors rallied to preserve a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee that the college town moved to take down. The statue had become a flashpoint for controversy, with critics arguing that it constituted a tribute to white supremacist ideology.
In the wake of Saturday’s protests, many criticized President Donald Trump for at first not specifically denouncing the white supremacist groups at the event. Trump did not single them out for condemnation until Monday and on Tuesday held to his initial remarks blaming both sides of protestors for the fighting.
The vice provosts’ letter states that the “Stanford community stands together.”
“We stand against violence, including the rhetoric of hate that incites violence,” it reads.
Contact Hannah Knowles at hknowles ‘at’ stanford.edu.