Widgets Magazine

University leaders denounce ‘racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry’ after Charlottesville violence

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.

About Hannah Knowles

Hannah Knowles is a junior from San Jose double-majoring in English and The Daily. Prior to managing the news section, she was desk editor for the University and Local beat.
  • Atlas_Shrugged

    No one mention BLM or the others will not talk to us.

  • MeredithWheeler

    As an alumna of Stanford (Class of ’74) I ask why is this message coming from three Vice Provosts and not the President of the University?

    Compare this Stanford reaction with the excellent message from the President of Brown:

    Dear Members of the Brown Community,

    I am writing to share my deep sadness and concern about the awful events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, over this weekend. The protest on Friday night, when alt-right groups marched on the University of Virginia campus expressing racist and anti-Semitic sentiments, was appalling enough. The hate-filled demonstration the following day in the city of Charlottesville was even worse, resulting in violence and loss of life.
    The expressions of neo-Nazism and white supremacy we saw this weekend were profoundly disturbing. They remind us that these vile ideas still have traction among some Americans. We must continue to be loud and clear that the hatred and violence we saw in Charlottesville this weekend is contrary to Brown values and, indeed, to human values. We have a responsibility as a university community to let our values of openness, respect for others, and commitment to knowledge and understanding inform our work as educators, scholars, and citizens of the world.

    My heart goes out to my colleague President Teresa Sullivan and members of the University of Virginia community, who have seen their campus become the site of expressions of hate. I feel for residents of Charlottesville who, as their mayor said, are “heartbroken” over the violence in their city.

    When we return to campus in a few short weeks, we will offer opportunities to come together as a community to discuss how best to confront behavior that reflects hatred, bigotry and intolerance. This has no place on a college campus and is in direct conflict with the principles of an enlightened democracy. In the meantime, I urge you to reach out to friends, family and colleagues, especially those from groups directly targeted by the hatred expressed in Charlottesville, to offer your love and support.


    Christina Paxson

  • Joe Citizen

    First, to address the commenter below, MeredithWheeler and her question why the President did not send out such a letter – maybe it was just too much empty fatuous virtue signaling even for him?

    Seriously, what does such a letter actually accomplish? Does anyone actually think the President of Stanford or any other prestigious school is OK with neo-Nazis? Does any neo-Nazi student at Stanford think they can openly express their views because the President did not send out a letter against them?
    MeredithWheeler – your complaint is totally spurious – Stanford’s President did not virtue signal as much as Brown’s President – so now he’s a bad guy?

    I would not mind if virtue signaling was merely fatuous and distasteful, and did not do actual harm. In fact, it can be a good thing, when it helps us identify the virtue-signalers as manipulative politicians, people who have nothing else to offer.
    But when it’s more than just a meaningless statement of being a good guy as this useless letter was, it can be very harmful.

    In the case of Greg Boardman, according to this newspaper, he increased the punishment given to the man Leah Francis accused (almost certainly falsely accused) of raping her – even beyond what the kangaroo student discipline procedures had done – while independently investigating the case to come up with reasons for increasing the punishment.

    I believe Boardman’s strategic reason for that was the same as in this silly little “I am against Nazis” letter – to signal he’s a good guy – and his motivation for wanting to tell everyone he’s a good guy is to keep his highly paid prestigious job at Stanford.

    In other words, he’s manipulating people, people who really ought to know better, for his own benefit. But in the anti-Nazi letter, no harm was done – whereas in the case of John Doe, the man Leah Francis accused – (again, almost certainly FALSELY accused) it threw him out of school on spurious grounds, delaying his career, and perhaps the most harmful, made him a social pariah among the countless SJW/Feminist lemmings on the campus.

    A worthy person in Boardman’s position would try to counteract the group thinking mobs and would stand for due process and fairness, even if that was met with anger and false accusations of condoning immorality – (as Trump is experiencing – whether you like him or not, what he said about Charlottesville has been greatly distorted) .

    John Doe, the man Leah Francis accused, is now suing Stanford, and Boardman was directly named as doing wrong to Doe by Doe’s lawyer. Hopefully the whole story will come out, rather than a closed-door settlement which Stanford will surely want.
    In the meantime, Boardman can continue with his virtue signaling, but he should be cautioned, it may soon be exposed as false advertising.

  • Joe Citizen

    MeredithWheeler – see my Comment above please.

  • Joe Citizen

    It seems it has to be said:

    Anti-Semitism and other types of racial feelings often have nothing to do with each other.

    Generally, anti-Semitism is due to envy of some type – Jews have more money – Jews have more intelligence – Jews get the Aryan girls was one the Nazis put out – and so on. – In other words, the Jew is beating the Anti Semite and he doesn’t like it.

    That has nothing to do with prejudice against black people.

    Generally, white people do not envy black people – one can not say that is never the case, but generally no.

    Generally, white people do not believe black people have more money or brains -one almost never hears that, even from the most extreme racists – you occasionally hear sexual envy – the black guy is getting white women – but that is about it.

    I suggest a lot of white – and not just white – Hispanic and Asian – and other groups – anti-black feelings are based on bad experiences with abusive black thugs, rather than some inner pathological psychology.

    These bad experiences are far more common for people who actually live in black areas – places nothing at all like Palo Alto , which, truth be told, is such an expensive place to live partly because it is racially segregated – and therefore safe.

    The truth is, the rich people of Palo Alto and Stanford do not choose to live in largely black areas – they choose to segregate themselves pretty much the maximum amount that is possible in modern America – of course many other people would make the same choice if they had the money – but not all of those people would be issuing proclamations about their moral superiority – some of them would at least admit they moved to a nice area to get away from crime.

    “Stanford community stands together.” – yes, I must admit, that is certainly true.