Graduate students released an open letter on Wednesday echoing their support for students of color in the wake of racist messages sent to black freshmen last week.
Physics graduate student Gaurav Shukla, president of Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, released an additional letter in tandem with the Inclusion Diversity Equality Access Leadership Committee about the messages.
In the email, IDEAL discussed the number of events that happened in the past week since the presidential election on Nov. 8, including the racist GroupMe messages as well as student protesters being at the Harvard-Penn football game by white students yelling, “We hate you,” and “This is why we shouldn’t have affirmative action.”
“Not everyone on campus is a target, but every single one of us is affected by oppression, and every single one of us has a responsibility to create a culture where bigotry is unacceptable. Inaction is acceptance,” the IDEAL letter stated. “There is no such thing as a silent ally. We encourage you to speak out against the bigotry you witness in your daily lives, whether committed by family, friends, or strangers.”
Over 200 graduate students have signed for the administration to denounce President-elect Donald Trump, a 1968 Wharton graduate. The graduate students said they are displeased with the administration’s silence on Trump and their failure to denounce his “racism, misogyny, homophobia and Islamophobia.”
“While we recognize the swiftness of the response from the university administration, and encourage Penn to continue to put all of its power and resources into continuing the investigation into these matters, we also note a deafening silence around the undeniable connection between these incidents and the results of the presidential election on November 8th,” the petition stated.
The letter asked for the administration to publicly condemn Trump and his remarks in order for the Penn community to heal.
“In correspondences over the weekend, the university administration has stated a commitment to ‘healing with members of our community,’” the petition stated. “We know that this healing cannot fully take place, nor can the roots of the harm be fully recognized, until the university takes steps to actively acknowledge the role of this election in condoning hatred and violence across the United States.”