GENESEO – More than 140 employees of SUNY Geneseo signed an open letter denouncing recent graffiti and harassment of students.
The letter is in response to the discovery of a swastika and the word ‘Trump’ inside a residence hall on Nov. 12, the letters ‘KKK‘ apparently written in mustard on the college gazebo on Nov. 30 and harassing text messages allegedly sent to students over this period.
All of these instances are under investigation by University Police, New York State Police and the New York State Division of Human Rights.
SUNY Geneseo President Denise Battles called the campus together for a meeting to ‘reaffirm college values’ after the appearance of the swastika and said in a statement that she is ‘outraged’ by the appearance of the ‘KKK’ graffiti.
Further events are planned to unite the campus community against hate messages.
The letter is as follows. Bolding and capitalized text are the decisions of the letter’s original authors:
We the undersigned
unite to REAFFIRM OUR COMMITMENT to the Geneseo mission in the strongest possible terms. Geneseo is a community built on values of diversity, inclusiveness, & civic responsibility. These values are constants, no matter how contentious the political climate.
The recent presidential campaign did not create nativism, racism, sexism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, or other ideologies of hate, but it legitimized & valorized them. Incidents during the past two weeks, across the nation & on our own campus, raise troubling questions about the apparent normalization of intolerance, bigotry, xenophobia, & hate. With one voice, we UNEQUIVOCALLY CONDEMN THE RESULTING THREATS which have been made—whether implicit or explicit, symbolic or overt—against the safety of our students & of the wider campus community. These threats are unacceptable. We also recognize that these hate crimes are only the most recent & visible aspects of persistent issues of racial & cultural insensitivity at Geneseo. We cannot be, or be perceived to be, complacent in the face of this.
WE STAND IN SOLIDARITY with all those who have been targeted by these hate crimes as well as with those who fear becoming targets. We celebrate our students: Black & Native American, Muslim & LGBTQ+, Jewish & immigrant, Latinx & Asian, neuroatypical & first-generation college
students, those with disabilities, & all women within & beyond these groups. Know that you belong here, that you are a rightful part of the Geneseo community, & that we value your presence.
No matter our field of study, we as scholars know the dangers of any attempt to normalize white supremacy, bigotry, inequality, & misogyny. We also know that these kinds of hatred can & must be combatted through a sustained commitment to critical thinking, humane discourse, & generosity of spirit. We recognize our moral, ethical, & professional obligation to protect our students, our colleagues, & our community. WE CANNOT HIDE FROM THIS. WE REFUSE TO.
We believe that this election & its aftermath must motivate those of us committed to civil rights, democracy, inclusion, & equality to find new ways to communicate & to educate. We must follow in the footsteps of those who have fought tirelessly to resist & reject racism, bigotry, misogyny, patriarchy, & discrimination on the basis of religion. We stand ready to work with those who are willing to foster a Geneseo community that is MORE SUPPORTIVE, RESPECTFUL & INCLUSIVE of all.
Visible, sustained, collective action is needed to begin addressing the concerns of all those who feel unsafe on our campus or in our local community, & all whose confidence in Geneseo’s achievement of our mission as ‘a diverse campus community marked by mutual respect’ has been damaged by events of the past weeks. WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, RECOGNIZE OUR FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY to engage in such action: to encourage all members of the community to actively listen to the concerns of others, to offer our unqualified support to those who have been affected, & to visibly, consciously demonstrate our Geneseo values in our behaviors toward one another.
The letter is signed by:
Megan Brankley Abbas; Kodjo Adabra; Beth Adams; Cesar Aguilar; James Aimers; Rebeka Alam; Jim Allen; Ken Asher; Doug Baldwin; Joan Ballard; Justin Behrend; Caroline Beltz-Hosek; Irene Belyakov-Goodman; Andrew Bergevin; Lori A. Bernard; Yusuf Bilgiç; Melanie Blood; Lynette Bosch; Sam Cardamone; Beth Chloette; Elaine Cleeton; Amy Cochrane; Emily Cole; Ken Cooper; Joe Cope; Peter Corrigan; Michelle Costello; Sarah E. Covell; Emilye Crosby; F. Kurt Cylke; Heather DiFino; Rob Doggett; Graham Drake; Celia Easton; Anne F. Eisenberg; Dori J. Farthing; Dillon Frederici; Raymond D. FeDora III; Kurt Fletcher; Gerard Floriano; Joan Floriano; Noel Folts; Emily Froome; Angela Galvan; Colleen Garrity; David K. Geiger; H. Christina Geiger; Todd M. Goehle; Barnabas Gikonyo; Jeremy Grace; Scott Georgis; David A. Granger; Sawyer Green; Jennifer Guzmán; Corey Ha; Erin Harris; Bill Harrison; Leilani Helmer; Eric Helms; Beverly Henke-Lofquist; Andrew Herman; Mary Hope; Amy Ivers; Daniel Jacques; Ryan M. Jones; Ken Kallio; Randy Kaplan; Jenny Katz; Wendi Kinney; Joanna Kirk; Steven Kirsch; Jordan Kleiman; Andrea Klein; Don Kot; Kristi Krumrine; Megan Kyle; Sherry Larson-Rhodes; Becky Lewis; Maria Helena Lima; Bill Lofquist; Julia Lowe; Anthony Macula; Kathleen Mapes; Kyle James Matthews; Tom Matthews; Glenn McLure; Brooke McCorkle; Beth McCoy; Rose McEwen; Sean McGrath; Ruel McKnight; Paul McLaughlin; James McLean; Melanie Mederios; Christine Merrilees; Lisa Meyer; Karen Mooney; Brian Morgan; Monica Morris; Jeffrey Mounts; Susan Buandoni Muench; Olympia Nicodemi; Susan Norman; Darrell Norris; Michael Leroy Oberg; Jun Okada; Jeff Over; Ozubko; Paul Pacheko; Gillian Paku; Tracy Paradis; David Parfitt; Glennda Dove Pellito; Kristin Perry; Wendy Pogozelski; Jeffrey Peterson; Dan Repinski; Julie Meyer Rao; Barbara Rex-McKinney; David Robertson; Kelly Roe; Leah M. Root; Daniel Ross; Amanda Roth; Suzanna Rubright; Alice Rutowski; Joanna Santos; Monica Schneider; Denise Scott; Yvonne Seale; Jessica Seren; Amy Sheldon; Dennis Showers; Crystal Simmons; Lytton Smith; Amy Stanley; Linda Steet; Aaron Steinhauer; Eugene Stelzig; Mark Sullivan; Melissa Sutherland; Laura Swanson; Rocio Vallego-Alegre; Linda Ware; Nick Warner; Barbara Welker; Brandon West; Stacey Wiley; Kimberly Willis; Alan Witt; Caroline Woidat; Joan Zook.