Dear CUNY Students:
We, the undersigned, write as faculty and professional staff members, and as members of the CUNY community, after an election that concluded a campaign of unprecedented ugliness.
Over the past months, we have watched a campaign in which a candidate and his supporters issued insults, slurs, and outright threats against many of those who constitute our CUNY community: women, people of color, Jews, members of the LGBTQ community, those with disabilities, and in particular, Muslims and immigrants (more specifically, undocumented immigrants), who have been directly targeted by President-elect Trump’s policy proposals. The broader public discussion around the election has involved a number of gross and insulting generalizations about other members of our community, specifically “non-college educated voters” and “working- class voters,” to which we object in the strongest possible terms.
We represent many different political positions, and our concern here is not to make a partisan statement about who should or should not have won the Presidential election. Our concern is to teach and support every member of our community to the best of our abilities. But we recognize that given the outcome of this election, many members of the CUNY community, especially those who belong to any of the groups that have been targeted during the campaign, may be feeling a mixture of emotions: fear, rage, anxiety, hopelessness, fury, vulnerability. Indeed, we fear that many of our students may have woken up the day after the election feeling directly, bodily threatened by the result.
We felt the need to reach out to you, to say three things.
First, we pledge that no matter what happens in the months and years to come, our classrooms, laboratories, libraries, studios and offices will remain spaces where the targeting of students based on their identities, beliefs, appearance, or immigration status will never, ever be tolerated.
Second, we pledge to stand up, both within CUNY and among a broader public, against all the forms of sexism and racism, of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, of xenophobia and homophobia, of hatred and discrimination based on ability, class, sexual or gender identity—in short, against all the forms of hatred that have been unleashed over the course of this election campaign—that threaten to become part of our nation’s public policy.
Third, we pledge to model and teach critical thinking in all of our interactions with students, in order to empower CUNY students to analyze, interrogate, challenge and reshape public discourse, now and in the future.
As members of the CUNY community, we consider an attack on any of us to be an attack on all of us. The positions we voice here and the pledges we make are aligned with CUNY’s beautiful founding mission “to educate the children of the people, the children of the whole people.” We look forward to teaching you, supporting you, and learning from you, in the days and weeks and years to come.
Click here for a list of petition signers.
Related link: Barbara Bowen Message to PSC Members—Three Things We Can Do Now.