Following the controversial events in which three people were killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, UC President Janet Napolitano and Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen have issued statements.
President Napolitano sent the following letter to the UC community in response to the violence in Charlottesville:
Over the weekend, our country experienced violent and tragic events on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. As the leader of the University of California, an institution dedicated to the vibrant and respectful exchange of ideas, I write to you today to condemn these hateful actions by white supremacists and to reaffirm UC’s values of diversity and inclusion.
As I stated over the weekend, UC abhors the violence and hate displayed in Charlottesville that perverted Americans’ right to speak freely. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at the University of Virginia in denouncing this shameful display and with the UVA students who bravely stood up to a crowd bent on violence. We offer our profound condolences to the family and friends of Heather Heyer, to all the individuals injured in the course of peaceful counterprotests, and to the Virginia state troopers who lost their lives.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants us all freedom of expression. University campuses in particular are meant to foster an exchange of ideas, and to teach students how to respectfully approach viewpoints different from their own — even when those viewpoints are offensive and hurtful. But the acts of domestic terrorism we saw in Charlottesville represented an assault on our cherished values of diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance. We must continue to speak and act against the shameful behavior we witnessed over the weekend and ensure that our colleges and universities, and our nation as a whole, remain safe and civil for all.
Diversity is a defining feature of the University of California and we embrace it as a necessary and valued part of our campus communities. I believe, as I know you do, that our differences — in race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, socioeconomic status, abilities, experience and more — make us stronger.
UC remains committed to providing a safe, supportive, responsive and equitable environment for every member of the university community. We reject all forms of discrimination, commit to fostering an atmosphere of respect and inclusion, and pledge to defend the right to free speech.This summer and fall, as UC students, faculty and staff return to their campuses, I ask that we all recommit to these enduring values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and work to live up to these ideals in all that we do.
President Nelsen offered this message to the Sacramento State campus about the weekend's events:
As I reflect on the events of the past few days – a celebration of diversity and inclusion on our campus with the swearing-in of the new Sacramento Chief of Police, alumnus Daniel Hahn, and the display of terrorist hate in Charlottesville – it is clear that we must decide who we are as a society.
I was horrified and dismayed by the violence and hate demonstrated by white supremacists at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville over the weekend, and I am heartbroken about those who were injured or killed as a result. The actions of the white supremacists and nationalists were a demonstration of cowardice – not patriotism. Each of us shares the responsibility of speaking out against what happened there. We have to denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy.
As I’ve shared in previous messages, we must continue to have difficult conversations on our campus, but we also must continue to support one another. As part of our Hornet Honor Code, we will continue our commitment to promoting an inclusive campus community that values our diversity. We are a Hornet Family, and I ask that we stand together against hate that has no place in our country. We are stronger together.At Sacramento State, we will continue to make inclusion a priority and to celebrate our diverse community. Last Friday on our campus, Daniel Hahn was sworn in as Sacramento’s first African American police chief. He represents a new and exciting beginning for the city and for the leadership in our community. At 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, in the Hinde Auditorium, we will welcome Dr. Miguel Gallardo to speak on multicultural and social justice. And on Monday, Oct. 16, a full day of events is scheduled to honor the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at Sacramento State. We will celebrate his legacy and contributions to the world.