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.