Northern Essex Community College President Lane A. Glenn.
A coalition of the presidents of all of the state’s community colleges today strongly condemned the “violence, bigotry, racism and hate” displayed last weekend in Charlottesville, Virg.
In a statement issued by Northern Essex Community College President Lane A. Glenn, on behalf of the 15 presidents of Massachusetts Community Colleges, the group reiterated that students from all walks of life are welcome at the state’s campuses.
“We reject, in the strongest possible terms, hateful rhetoric, harmful actions, or attempts to diminish the values or identity of our community members, while remaining committed to the fundamental right of free speech. These actions will not gain a foothold on our campuses. We will provide safe and secure environments for our students, faculty and staff. We will continue to embrace the diversity that makes our institutions strong,” the statement read.
Without referring to President Donald Trump directly, the statement suggested a sharp contrast with the White House’s position. Rather than specifically naming white supremacists and neo-Nazis, Trump blamed “many sides” for the violence that led to the death of a 32-year-old woman during the “Unite the Right” rally.
“In these times that test our resolve as leaders, we renew our pledge to our communities,” Glenn said.
“The students on our campuses across the Commonwealth reflect the rich diversity of our nation. Our philosophy of teaching and learning has, at its core, the promise of inclusive excellence and social justice. We embrace our shared values of global citizenship and prize the richness of cultural wealth in our diverse communities. We respect people from all nations, cultures, background, and experience and welcome them to join our community of scholars and learners, for therein lies the hope and the future strength of our nation and our world.”
The community college presidents are far from alone. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll this week found 52 percent of Americans found Trump’s statement “not strong enough” compared with 27 percent who backed the president’s position. Yesterday, former Republican Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush added their voices to the chorus of condemnation. “America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms,” the former presidents wrote.
“You are all welcome and valued; your religion, race, ethnicity, language, citizenship, and gender are honored. We will continue to learn together. Hate has no place at our Massachusetts Community Colleges,” Glenn’s statement concluded