Chancellor’s Message to AU Community
Dear AU Community,
Having witnessed the horrific events of last weekend by torch-carrying white nationalists at the University of Virginia and in the city of Charlottesville, VA., it’s appropriate that citizens, institutions, and communities condemn and rebuke the hate-based, racist rhetoric of extremists groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi organizations, and the violent actions of their followers. Another innocent person has been senselessly murdered as she marched in support of civil rights and equality. Heather Heyer is the latest victim of a long history of domestic terrorism, violence, and murder in this nation by white supremacists.
It is often the case that such Klan events target America’s colleges and universities. They are the melting pots of America and the bastions of democracy and equality. Antioch was the focus of a 2004 Klan march in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Our reputation as champions of racial equality is well known. In 1856, Antioch became one of the first universities in America to admit African-American students to learn side-by-side with white students. In pre-civil war America, this was nothing less than revolutionary. It would be over 100 years before federal laws would require the same result.
We have been fierce advocates for racial, ethnic, and gender equality and social justice since our inception 165 years ago. And for that reason, we have been a target of white nationalist groups. It’s important, therefore, that we speak to our values and confront evil when we see it.
We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the ideology and actions advocated and perpetrated by white nationalists, White Supremacists, and neo-Nazi organizations and individuals that resulted in the tragedy in Charlottesville this past weekend.
We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the hate-filled racist ideology and violent actions that are part of our historical legacy as a nation, part of the fabric of our current culture, and which are extending their reach with profoundly disturbing vigor.
We call upon our President and national leaders to unequivocally condemn these movements of bigotry and intolerance and to strongly and unequivocally renounce any support from the alt-right movement, to specifically condemn and rebuke the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, and other white nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazi organizations, and advise them that their organizations and members will receive no support or sanctuary from this administration and that their criminal actions and domestic terrorism will result in swift and harsh federal prosecution.
We call upon our President to purge from the White House any and all White House advisors and staff currently or formerly associated with the white nationalist or white supremacist movement, including Steve Bannon, co-founder of the alt-right, white nationalist website, Breitbart News; Steve Miller, a follower and mentee of white supremacist Richard Spencer; and Sebastian Gorka, who has extensive ties to anti-Semitic hate groups such as Vitez Order. The American people have a right to know that no such individuals are on the public payroll, or that they have the ear of the President in developing public policy.
We call upon the President to listen to the advice within his own political party to unequivocally retract his rhetoric normalizing the Ku Klux Klan or other white nationalist, white supremacist, or neo-Nazi organizations, as well as the rhetoric excusing the actions of their members. A young woman has been brutally murdered by a white supremacist thug. Those who glorify Nazism or racism are not “fine people,” they are fascists, and their opponents are not the “alt-left,” they are Americans. Antioch University stands with them.
William R. Groves, JD