A Letter from the Editors

Saturday, August 19, 2017 - 1:10pm

As students, faculty and staff begin to return to campus to start the fall semester, we wanted to take this opportunity to address recent events that have been on many people’s minds.

On Aug. 13, white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, Va., for a rally that ended in the death of a protester and injured at least 19 others when a car deliberately plowed into a crowd of counter-demonstrators. At least 34 total were injured.

In response, President Donald Trump initially said in a news conference on Saturday afternoon, the day of the rally, that it displayed “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” Though he went back on his comments and on Monday said “racism is evil” and called out the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and “other hate groups,” many believed the statement was “too little, too late.” In fact, he reneged his statement the next day, reaffirming his initial statement that “both sides” were to blame for the violence during the protests.

On Friday morning, racist and anti-Semitic graffiti were found at a skate park in the Ann Arbor area. This marks the second occurrence of racist speech to affect our community this week, as racist graffiti was also found in a bathroom at the UM Biological Station near Pellston, Mich.

In an email addressed to all members of the University of Michigan community, University President Mark Schlissel responded to the protests in Charlottesville and specifically pointed to “hate groups and white supremacists who caused death and injury in Charlottesville” as the ones at the rally who “use our differences in the name of evil,” and those who displayed “despicable bigotry.”

As editorial page editors — and as an Opinion section as a whole — we strive to listen to multiple perspectives, and we ask that everyone work to understand the other side. This has become especially important in the wake of the election of President Trump, where the political divide has widened significantly.

However, we want to make sure one thing is very clear: What happened in Charlottesville is not an example of racism and bigotry on both sides, as President Trump tried to suggest, and we are ashamed that anyone would attempt to place blame for the violence on both sides.

We stand against the violence and values espoused by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. We do not tolerate or rationalize such displays of hatred as we saw last weekend and over the course of this week, because it goes against everything we believe in, as editorial page editors and as people. There is no place for these types of hateful acts in The Michigan Daily’s Opinion section.

At this time, especially as we are in the midst of celebrating the 200th anniversary of the University of Michigan, we want to remind everyone what we, the editorial page editors of The Michigan Daily, stand for. Now is not the time for anyone to be silent. So, we want to do our part to reassure every current and prospective student, staff and faculty member, every alum, as well as members of the Ann Arbor community and the nation at large, that we stand up against hatred espoused by these groups and we stand with and among the communities of people are affected by this speech and these actions.  

Signed,

Anna Polumbo-Levy and Rebecca Tarnopol

Editorial Page Editors of The Michigan Daily