Condemning Acts of Hate and Violence

August 16, 2017
A vigil in Washington DC in the wake of the Charlottesville, VA August 12 rally.

Dear Wellesley community,

As we prepare to welcome students back to campus, our anticipation of the new academic year is tempered by a profound sadness and deep concern over the hatred and violence that rocked the city of Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend. Our heartfelt condolences go to the families and loved ones of the victims.

We must face these events with a sobering recognition that white supremacists and neo-Nazis can no longer be dismissed as outliers or repugnant anachronisms. It is with this in mind that I write to affirm Wellesley’s belief in a community—and a nation—that lifts up and celebrates all people and embraces a plurality of ideas, experiences, and backgrounds.

As a liberal arts college, we defend freedom of speech and assembly, but as a community that places the highest value on diversity and decency, we denounce the rhetoric and actions of white supremacists and any other groups that vilify and target people based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or any of the other differences that distinguish us. We forcefully and unequivocally condemn the hateful and inhumane ideology these groups attempt to spread, in Charlottesville and across the country.

We stand in solidarity with all those who reject acts of hatred and the use of fear to intimidate and marginalize; we pledge to ensure that Wellesley’s campus will be a space where all members of our community feel free to express themselves.

As extremist groups continue to make plans to spread hate, perhaps including a demonstration on the Boston Common this weekend, let us stand together, a united Wellesley, to condemn violence and bigotry, and to foster meaningful dialogue to promote appreciation of differences of all kinds.


Paula A. Johnson