The Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies condemns the recent action of members and sympathizers of neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and white supremacists on the campus of Appalachian State University.
Along with the campus community, we agree with yesterday’s statement by Chancellor Sheri Everts and the University administration. There is no room for hate at AppState. We support the efforts of campus and town police to ensure the safety of all students and other members of our community, and look to their increased involvement in prosecuting all local hate crimes.
The recent showing of neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA, and the murder of and attack on counter-demonstrators was not an isolated incident. University campuses across the country, and the Appalachian State University campus and Boone community in particular, have been repeatedly targeted over the last academic year. These incidents include an anti-Semitic sticker campaign on campus, an anti-Jewish diatribe on a local newspaper’s website during the High Holidays, and racist chalkings written on campus sidewalks. This most recent incident of a hate-speech banner prominently placed in central campus is part of an alarming trend at our university and in our community.
The Center stands with the survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides, all people targeted by neo-Nazi, white nationalist, and white supremacist groups, and those who speak out against their anti-Semitic, xenophobic, and racist campaigns. We stand against the recent, second desecration of the Holocaust memorial in Boston. We stand with the NAACP in North Carolina and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, who have provided moral leadership at a time when this is more and more lacking.
We ask you to stand with us, in your speech and actions, your willingness to stand up for our shared beliefs. We call on the campus and broader communities not to be silent, but to speak out and confront these and other verbal and physical expressions of racism and hatred.
The Center will continue its programming and work with other groups and student, faculty, and staff members of the Appalachian State University community and beyond to confront these challenges. We encourage all members of the campus and community to learn more about hate groups in the U.S. and worldwide, past and present. We ask you to openly discuss how to address and reduce their influence. And we ask you to strengthen and embrace our shared values of learning about and actively valuing difference in our community and promoting equality and trust across various identities.
It is up to each and every one of us to make Appalachian State University and Boone welcoming to everyone, most particularly to students, faculty, staff, and community members of color, immigrants, religious minorities, and LGBTQ people who have been targeted in the current climate. Let’s each of us proactively work to create a caring and supportive environment to support all of its members.
On behalf of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies and its supporters,
Thomas Pegelow Kaplan
Leon Levine Distinguished Professor and Director
Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies