Villanova professors speak up about post-election racially motivated assaults

They’ve made a formal pledge to students in a letter

Over 100 professors across various departments at Villanova have signed a formal pledge condemning “incidents of violence, racial harassment, and sexist and misogynistic aggression that have been reported on our campus.”

The letter, sent yesterday, does not directly reference any incident. However it reminds the community of the recent racial assault that occurred in the West Campus tunnel and other recent unconfirmed incidents involving sexual harassment and politically motivated aggression.

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The teachers who signed the pledge vowed to “protect” students and take up “disciplinary sanctions” against those who violate Villanova‚Äôs core principles of caritas, unitas, and veritas (i.e. offenders in incidents like the ones mentioned above).

The letter pays special attention to the protection and inclusion of marginalized groups on campus including LBGTQ people, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, and women.

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In perhaps the most politically charged section of the letter, the faculty describe the wider discourses surrounding the recent political election as “noise” which “seems unlikely to dissipate as some social and mainstream media sources and politicians continue to promulgate lies, distortions, and half truths.”

They also acknowledge that a wide range of views concerning the recent election exist on our campus, and vow to unite the campus by promoting a community of respect and understanding.

In one instance, they wrote:

“We will stand up for those who have been targeted by hostile political discourse and those whom that discourse has put at risk: women, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, LGBTQ people, people of color, people with disabilities. We will staunchly defend the dignity, rights, and value of these members of our community, whose full humanity has been discounted by some of the most powerful voices in our nation. Dignity is not a good extended only to a privileged few. It is the birthright of every human being and the bedrock of any free society.”

They also plan to do so by engaging in and promoting civil discourses in and outside of the classroom.

According to one professor, who wished to remain anonymous, a faculty representative asked the participating professors to circulate the pledge to students via email.

Professors were also encouraged to talk plainly about the election results and address the divisive nature of the campaign and the resulting hateful incidents on-campus in their classes.

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