129 college presidents to Trump: 'We urge you to condemn violence in your name'

Signers say the president-elect should do more

In response to the acts of violence that have followed the election, more than 100 college and university presidents have signed a letter to President-elect Donald Trump requesting that he officially condemn harassment and hate, Scott Jaschik reports for Inside Higher Ed. 

On campuses across the nation, students have faced very real threats—a student at the University of Oklahoma, for instance, sent black freshmen at University of Pennsylvania a series of racial slurs in text messages from "Daddy Trump" or "Heil Trump." 

Related: Student harassment on the rise after election

Mariko Silver, the president of Bennington College, initiated the letter to Trump. Silver believes that students should hear directly from Trump that he finds these actions unacceptable, is committed to safety, and denounces harassment.

"One of the roles of leaders is to protect and empower the most vulnerable," reads the letter. "As president-elect, this responsibility rests heavily on you. Let this be a mark of your leadership."

When it was released, the letter included signatures from 110 presidents, but 19 more signed Friday.

When asked about the violence and harassment on a 60 Minutes interview, Trump did urge the perpetrators to "Stop it." And Virginia Foxx, the next likely chair of the Republican House education committee, says Trump "doesn't believe in violence [or] in the things that have been happening." 

See what Virginia Foxx said about Trump's higher ed plans

Silver sees Trump's interview as a positive sign, but believes the president-elect still needs to do more—that he needs to officially disavow hateful actions.

The letter, Silver says, is in no way meant to align the signers with a specific political view.

Trump's transition team has not commented on the letter (Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, 11/18).

How college presidents are responding to students after the election


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