In the midst of 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump’s presidential run, during which he has repeatedly invoked his Wharton degree, over 3,800 Penn students, graduates, parents, partners and family members have signed a petition telling him, “You do not represent us.”
The petition was posted online on July 8, just over a week before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, where Trump became the party’s official presidential nominee.
The petition takes the form of an open letter. It begins, “Dear Mr. Trump: At the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, students are taught to represent the highest levels of respect and integrity. We are taught to embrace humility and diversity. We can understand why, in seeking America’s highest office, you have used your degree from Wharton to promote and lend legitimacy to your candidacy.”
But as it continues, it becomes a more biting critique.
“We, proud students, alumni, and faculty of Wharton, are outraged that an affiliation with our school is being used to legitimize prejudice and intolerance,” the letter says. “Although we do not aim to make any political endorsements with this letter, we do express our unequivocal stance against the xenophobia, sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry that you have actively and implicitly endorsed in your campaign.”
Since its posting, the article has been picked up by national news outlets such as NBC, the Huffington Post and CNN.
One of the co-authors of the letter said she and the rest of the authors prefer not to be named because they feel it would distract from the fact that the message comes from a larger Wharton community. However, she did include a statement from the co-authors.
“Throughout this presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s education at Wharton has been used as a part of a platform to promote prejudice and intolerance,” the co-authors wrote. “It was important for us to speak out against Trump because, as we have seen in many moments throughout history, silence is an act of complicity. This open letter speaks on behalf of Wharton students, alumni, and faculty who wish to speak out against hate and stand in solidarity with all members of our diverse community — both at Wharton and across America.”
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