Open Letter to the CNU Community

The following is an open letter The Captain’s Log has received from CNU faculty regarding nationwide acts of prejudice and divisiveness following the 2016 presidential election. It is signed by over 150 faculty members. 

Dear CNU Community:
Following a divisive election season, many people, including those of us writing this letter, reacted in sadness and despair. This reaction did not come from a place of party affiliation, policy preferences, or personal support of a candidate. Rather, our feelings result from an election season that identified a deep divide in the nation, that incited violence against minorities and invoked racism, sexism, and xenophobia, among other prejudiced speech. Our concern grows from the affirmed fear that some bodies are valued less than others, that some people’s humanity may not be seen as such in a divisive political climate. We believe that this hateful and intolerant speech troubles many Americans and we are hopeful to work with allies across political affiliations that care deeply about these issues.

Some of us are concerned for our own rights or those of our loved ones. However, we are overwhelmingly concerned for our students who may feel that they are not valued, or worse, that they may lose rights or risk their safety by simply being who they are. Many of us have received (and continue to receive) emails, phone calls, or office visits from students who feel that their safety or the safety of their loved ones, friends, and classmates is at risk. This is not an abstract or unsubstantiated fear. In the days since the election we have read with alarm of racist, sexist, and xenophobic attacks at universities and secondary schools around the country, and 2015 saw the highest level of anti-Muslim hate crimes since 9-11, an upward trend that continues post-election. To our students, we hear your voices and we will support you in your efforts to organize and publicly condemn hate speech and discrimination. As educators, we are here to support the free exchange of ideas and to create an environment that enables all students, regardless of social, cultural, or political orientation, to engage in thoughtful, well-reasoned, and civil dialogue.

One way of demonstrating that support is publishing this letter. Universities across the United States, including our own, have publicly shared their condemnation of hate speech and discrimination. As the CNU Discrimination and Harassment Policy states:

“Christopher Newport University (CNU) is committed to providing an environment that emphasizes the dignity and worth of every member of its community and that is free from harassment and discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, veteran status, political affiliation, or any other status protected by law. Such an environment is necessary to a healthy learning, working, and living atmosphere because discrimination and harassment undermine human dignity and the positive connection among everyone on campus.”

We write this letter not only to condemn hate and discrimination, but also to confirm – as has President Trible – that we, the undersigned CNU faculty, support the free and open exchange of ideas that affirm the humanity of all our students, faculty and staff. This letter is an open invitation to begin a sustained dialogue about these issues. We value you. We value your safety. Moreover, we value your right to feel sad, angry, afraid or confused, and we value your right to live and study in an environment free from discrimination and harassment.

Respectfully,
Danielle M. Stern, Communication
Linda Waldron, Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology
Bek Orr, Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology
Jessica Thompson, Organismal and Environmental Biology
Johnny Finn, Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
Gregg Lloyd, Theater and Dance
Terry Lee, English Department
Kelly Rossum, Music
Roberta Rosenberg, English
Matthew Homan, Philosophy
Scott Pollard, English
Andria Timmer, Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
Michaela D.E. Meyer, Communication
Ann Mazzocca, Theater and Dance
Diane Griffiths, Social Work
Jennifer Billinson, Communication
Sean Connable, Communication
S. Lynn Shollen, Leadership Studies
Jana Adamitis, Classical Studies
Lynn Lambert, Physics, Computer Science and Engineering
Andrew J. Falk, History
Kerry Fallon, Religion
Edward Brash, Physics, Computer Science & Engineering
Charlotte Cartwright, History
Joshua M. Bowman, Music
Courtney Jane Belmonte, Psychology
Kelly Cartwright, Psychology
Danielle C. Velardi, MCLL (Spanish)
Joe Balay, Philosophy
Rebecca Wheeler, English
Alonso Varo, Spanish
Federica Bono, Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
John Nichols, English
Kara Keeling, English
Antonia Randolph, Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
Kevin Shortsleeve, English
Michael J Mulryan, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Constance Ironmonger, Theater and Dance
Zhaochen He, Economics
Lisa L. Heuvel, Leadership Studies
Chris Kennedy, Mathematics
Sharon Rowley, English
Eric Duskin, History
Anna Teekell, English
Sarah Finley, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Danielle Ward-Griffin, Music
Leslie Rollins, Psychology
Matthew Lattanzio, Organismal and Environmental Biology
Roberto A. Flores, Computer Science
Jeffrey Carney, Molecular Biology and Chemistry
Molly Reed Waters, Leadership Studies
Evan Center, Communication
Margarita Marinova, English
Joe Healey, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
Margaret Richardson, Fine Art and Art History
Jennifer Pretak, Spanish
Michael Lewis, Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology
Michelle Lange, Psychology
William F. Connell, History
John M. Thompson, Philosophy and Religious Studies
Michelle Deschenes, Organismal & Environmental Biology
Sarah Frook Gallo, Music
Christopher Loy, Anthropology
Kathleen Callahan, Leadership Studies
Geoffrey Klein, Chemistry and Provost Office
Jean Filetti, English
Anton Riedl, Physics, Computer Science & Engineering
Dr. Meredith Romito, Psychology
Mario D. Mazzarella, History Emeritus
Tim Pressley, Psychology
Benjamin Redekop, Leadership Studies
Rocio Gordon, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Sharon Larson, MCLL
Laura Puaca, History/Women’s and Gender Studies
Brian M. Puaca, History
Jeffrey Niehaus, Psychology
Rick Sherwin, Organismal and Environmental Biology
Barbara J Abraham, Adjunct, Organismal and Environmental Biology
Stavroula Kostaki Gailey, Professor Emerita/Mathematics
Xiaoqun Xu, History
Pam Pringle, Luter School of Business
Ronnie Cohen, Luter School of Business
Iordanka Panayotova, Mathematics
Mark Evan Davis, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Scott Smith, Communication
Barbara Stephenson, Fine Art and Art History
Anna DeJong, Physics, Computer Science & Engineering
Roark Mulligan, English
Julian Stetkevych, Theater and Dance
Danielle Docka-Filipek; Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
David Stenner, History
Trevor Hoag, English
Elena Valdez, MCLL
Mary Sellen, University Librarian
Veronique Frucot, Business
Katie Wiens, Molecular Biology and Chemistry
Brian Bradie, Mathematics
Kenneth Rose, Religious Studies
Laurie Sullivan Hunter, Psychology
Elaine Miller, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Patricia Jarvis, Psychology
John Hyland, History
Niazur Rahim, Accounting & Finance
Jessica Apolloni, English
Ronald S. Mollick, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Organismal and Environmental Science
Kenneth L. Hawkins, Computer Science
Kathleen Brunke, Molecular Biology and Chemistry
Christi Harris, Fine Art and Art History
Toby Whitaker, Music
Kathy Jaremski, Theater and Dance
Camelia Deller, Spanish
Hongwei Chen, Mathematics
Mary Wright, English
Michelle H. Grau, Modern Languages
Abby Brooks, Luter School of Business
Jessica Kelly, Mathematics
Skip Horton-Parker, Philosophy and Religious Studies
James Van Auken, Leadership Studies
Valentina Sorbera, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Michelle Barnello, Government
Brian McInnis, German
Todd Gruber, Molecular Biology and Chemistry
Quentin Kidd, Government and Provost Office
Lori J. Underwood, Philosophy, College of Arts & Humanities
David Gore, Physics, Computer Science & Engineering
Christopher Meighan, Molecular Biology and Chemistry
Nicole R. Guajardo, College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences
Diana Catanzaro, Psychology
Heather Harwell, Organismal & Environmental Biology
Sheri Shuck-Hall, History
David F. Alexick, Fine Arts, Emeritus
James Kelly, Mathematics
Keith Perkins, Physics Computer Science and Engineering
Earl C. Riggins, III, Psychology
Michael Meyer, Organismal and Environmental Biology
Sarah Chace, Leadership Studies
Michael J. Collins, Physics, Computer Science & Engineering
Ralph Cann-Tamakloe, Economics Dept.
Elizabeth Moran, Fine Art and Art History
Tom Hall, Accounting & Finance
Laine Briddell, Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology
Kelsey Kirland, Leadership Studies
Linda Manning, Communication
Peter Monaghan, Physics, Computer Science & Engineering
Matt Hettche, Marketing
Christopher Mooney, Music
Jaime Harris, Sociology
Patricia S. Seuchie, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Robert Sulzberger, Psychology
Shumet Sishagne, History Emeritus, currently Fulbright Scholar
Harry Greenlee, Government
Sheila Greenlee, Psychology
Jonathan Backens, Physics, Computer Science and Engineering
LaMonte Williams, CNU Foundations
Lance Drummond, Executive-in-Residence — Luter School of Business
David Collar, Organismal and Environmental Biology
Tatiana Rizova, Government
Johnnie Gray, Librarian
Joe Sery, Communication