Statement on Charlottesville — August 15, 2017

To Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff,

The racism, anti-Semitism, hate, violence, and death over the weekend in Charlottesville weigh heavily on us all. The murder of Heather Heyer is an unspeakable crime. We mourn her and our hearts go out to her family and friends. The Klan, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and those who give them comfort need to be called out for what they are—despicable. As our College begins its 216th year, let me say clearly and unequivocally that we reject the hate and the violence and the vile ideas that fuel them. They have no place in America or in any civilized society.

Earlier this summer, as we reported to those in residence here, an individual with a white nationalist group (he is not associated with Bowdoin) posted stickers with their organization’s name around campus, including at the Russwurm African American Center. It appears that the major activity of this group is posting stickers at colleges around the country to generate publicity, and for this reason, we do not name them. Like their brethren in Charlottesville, they seek to instill fear and to drive us apart. They will do neither at Bowdoin.

Ours is an amazing community—one of great support for one another, of warmth, humility, integrity, and a desire to serve the common good. It has been this way for 215 years, even during the most difficult times in the history of our country and world. It is our community, our values, our strength, and the work we do here to build knowledge and to teach and learn that are effective bulwarks against the hate and violence. They are powerful reasons for the promise of a better future.