Washington College President & Faculty Condemn Violence and Hate in Charlottesville

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Casey Academic Center at Washington College, Chestertown, MD.

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College President Kurt Landgraf and the College’s Faculty Council today condemned the violence and hate that led to three deaths last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, reaffirming the College’s foundational commitment to supporting an education and campus community premised on thoughtful dialogue and moral courage.

“For centuries, race and intolerance have been complicated elements in defining who we are as a nation. Now, the world has witnessed the events in Charlottesville, and it’s time for all of us to speak out, loud and clear: ‘This is not who we are,’” Landgraf said.

“I am disgusted by the violence and hate that we have seen and continue to endure. There is no place for this in our country. No matter your political views, all of us could agree that these actions threaten the foundational values of this great country and who we are as a people. Our history demonstrates there is power behind nonviolence, progress in rational dialogue, and mutual understanding in compassion.

President Kurt M. Landgraf of Washington College with students.

“Washington College will not tolerate this movement of anger and hate—on campus or in the community. As the first college in a new nation, we have an important role to play in educating our students that their future role as thoughtful citizens and leaders of this country requires courage and a moral compass. We can begin by making clear that today, silence is not an option when faced with intolerance, racism, hate, and violence.”

The Faculty Council, chaired by Clayton Black, associate professor of history, said: “In light of the incidents at the University of Virginia on August 10-12, 2017, we, the faculty of Washington College, reaffirm our adherence to the values of integrity, determination, curiosity, civility, leadership, and moral courage expressed in our Mission Statement. We condemn all efforts to masquerade bigotry and prejudice as merely expressions of ‘free speech’ and commit ourselves and our institution to acting as a force for securing and furthering the equality of all peoples, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, religion, physical ability, or class.

“As scholars, we accept that the free and open exchange of ideas from multiple perspectives is the surest means of achieving truthful propositions.  Tolerance of alternative views is a precondition for such an exchange, and Washington College will always be a place where ideas are challenged and debated.  We affirm the equality of all peoples; but we reject the equality of all ideas or ideologies as simply different-but-equal ‘points of view’ when they promote discrimination, exclusivity, or intolerance. Obscurantism and appeals to prejudice are not welcome at Washington College.”

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at the Washington College website.

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Letters to Editor

  1. I endorse the criticism by President Kurt Landgraf and the College’s Faculty Council condemning the unfortunate event(s) at Chancellorsville and amplifying the philosophy that governs the educational and social environment on campus. Who among us would endorse anything to the contrary?

    However, what action(s) do you and the facility intend regarding the statue and bust of George Washington as well as the many images of his likeness around campus? Each icon glorifies a slave owner who over 56 years” controlled” up to 715 slaves until his death. Robert E. Lee is a “piker” compared to George Washington!

    Will the College continue under the present name for another 235 years, ignoring the stigma now associated with George Washington?

    I suspect that President Landgraf and the facility endorse the removal of statues, paintings, and memorials of Robert E. Lee et al. And to the extreme, vilification of Gen. Lee’s horse, “Traveller.” now under attack! Will the College website and campus be “sanitized” in the spirit of “mutual understanding in compassion?”

    President Landgraf; talk is often cheap. I expect you and the faculty to do the right thing for those students who might be offended by the omnipresent George Washington. Or was this just bombast?

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