President Alison Byerly emailed the following message to the campus community today:
This past weekend, Charlottesville, Virginia and the University of Virginia campus were the scenes of a white supremacist rally that turned violent and finally deadly. One counter-protester was killed and others were seriously injured. These events have received the condemnation they deserve from many voices across the country and around the world, including Democrats, Republicans, independents, and people of all races and walks of life.
The fact that the demonstrators chose to begin their rally on the University of Virginia campus is an affront to the values and ideals that colleges and universities represent. As communities devoted to free inquiry and open debate, we welcome the expression of opposing and even unpopular views. But the rally that took place in Charlottesville was not expression—it was terrorism. Demonstrators who carry torches, firearms, and shields do not come to debate or convince, they come to intimidate. To make a college campus the theater for such a despicable display of racism and hate is a grotesque parody of what our communities stand for.
As we look ahead to the start of a new academic year, it will be important for us to begin with open minds, open hearts, and a shared understanding of the values that bind us together. In adding my voice to those who condemn this weekend’s violence, I wish to affirm that we as a community stand united against actions that are antithetical to the values that Lafayette College represents, and that we hope our students will carry into the world beyond our campus.
President Alison Byerly