President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: President’s Statement on Charlottesville

August 16, 2017

As students return to Reed, we should all reflect on the momentous events taking place across our country. The racism, violence, and hatred espoused by the white supremacist movement is reprehensible. I hope all of us will stand in solidarity with University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan, who stated in response to the hate groups that gathered in Charlottesville this past weekend on and around the grounds of the University of Virginia: “The University supports the First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceable assembly. Acts of violence, however, are not protected by the First Amendment. Violence and bigotry are not political positions. We strongly condemn intimidating and abhorrent behavior intended to strike fear and sow division in our community.”

Our world is rife with prejudice against groups and individuals because of their race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other differences. This hatred is not natural or biological, but learned behavior, the product of ignorance and fear. We must do our part to expose hate and denounce discrimination. We have an opportunity, obligation, and responsibility to make a difference.

At Reed, we celebrate diversity and uphold justice and equity. Let us all take this opportunity before the semester begins to reconfirm our commitment to creating an educational and work environment that respects the dignity and civil rights of all persons, particularly those from groups that have experienced and are experiencing discrimination and persecution.

John R. Kroger