August 14, 2017

Leaders call for respect in wake of Charlottesville clashes

File Photo

File Photo
Chancellor Ronnie Green

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green appealed to the university community to summon its core values of mutual respect and dignity, and to reject the hate and bigotry that descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

The chancellor, a native of Fincastle, Virginia, said the violent events that erupted in Charlottesville – where far-right groups at an Aug. 11-12 Unite the Right rally clashed with counter-protestors, injuring 19 people and killing a 32-year-old woman – “should jar us all to our core, as they certainly did for our family.

“We are left asking the question of why and how such blatant and overt hate can exist in our world, much less here in our American democracy, which is built upon freedom and equality for all,” Green wrote in an Aug. 14 letter addressed to faculty, staff, students and supporters of the university.

He implored the university, which begins the 2017-18 academic year Aug. 21, and our wider society to exhibit “more love and less hate, more respect and less anger, more understanding and less judgment, more civility and less hostility, more unity and less division, more desire to learn from our past and less desire to destroy or hide it.”

Green expressed hope that “we will all dig deep to live by values of dignity, respect and shared humanity every day and every hour.

“We must rise above such vile hate, indecency, racism and bigotry,” the chancellor wrote.

Hank Bounds, president of the University of Nebraska system, issued a statement Aug. 13 in which he said he and his wife, Susie, were “sickened by this senseless violence and by the racist, white supremacist and Neo-Nazi beliefs on display.

President Hank Bounds
“These disgusting beliefs violate the most basic principles of decency and our shared humanity,” he said.

Bounds said the four-institution University of Nebraska system stands with colleagues at the University of Virginia who are working to keep their community safe, to protect visitors’ First Amendment rights and to reject hateful ideology and violence.

“We are similarly committed to tolerance and inclusion, open and respectful dialogue and the safety and well-being of every member of our community,” Bounds said. “As we begin a new school year, I hope the entire University of Nebraska family will ask ourselves what more we can do to put those values into action.”

Read both Chancellor Green’s and President Bounds’ full statements here.