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LSA Dean Andrew Martin and Elizabeth Birr Moje, dean of the School of Education, announced in separate emails that LSA and Education classes would not be canceled in response to ongoing student protests this week as part of the #StopSpencer campaign. The “#StopSpencer Week of Action” is holding events on campus to protest the University of Michigan’s decision to consider allowing white supremacist Richard Spencer’s request to speak on campus.
Students4Justice and other student organizations called upon faculty and administration in an open letter to waive classes on Thursday for the student strike against Spencer, in which students plan to strike all classes Thursday. There are also plans for a walk-out Wednesday morning morning, at which time students are gathering to protest in the Diag.
“The most important thing we do as educators is to teach, and for that reason, we do not support calls by students and faculty to cancel classes,” Martin wrote.
Martin and Moje both wrote they support the right of students to protest, but encouraged students not to participate in order not to give a platform to Spencer’s ideas.
“We urge you not to participate in such a protest, which gives power to the people who spread falsehoods and hate,” Moje wrote. “Instead, we urge you to teach your courses and use them as an opportunity to engage our students in discussions about free speech, the power of multiple perspectives, how to launch productive protests, and about the right to the opportunity to learn for all people.”
Both Martin and Moje also expressed their distaste for Spencer and his white supremacist beliefs, calling them “noxious” and “repugnant.”