An Open Letter from American University Faculty Members to Students After the 2016 US Elections
Dear AU Students,

As you are aware, members of university communities across the country have already been targeted with physical violence and racist or otherwise hateful speech in the wake of the US elections. Our campus has not been spared from these tensions. At this moment, it is incumbent on us that we redouble our efforts to foster an inclusive and diverse academic community while respecting all forms of legal protest. Only by enabling and cherishing such an inclusive, diverse, and politically active community will we survive and overcome the threats of the current national political climate.

As faculty members at American University, we are deeply concerned about racist graffiti and assaults on vulnerable minority students on campus. All students, whether black, brown, Muslim, Jewish, Arab, LGBTQ+, Latinx, Asian, Native American, female, those with disabilities, and those with or without immigration papers, have the right to feel safe on campus. As professors we affirm our solidarity with our students and our condemnation of all forms of discrimination, bigotry, bullying, hate speech, sexual assault, and violence.

We call upon the university leadership and administration to similarly reaffirm their unconditional commitment to American University’s mission of inclusion and diversity. We ask that university leadership continue to welcome students, faculty, and staff from different races, ethnicities, economic backgrounds, genders, religions, sexual orientations, and nationalities. We ask that university leadership protect academic freedom and assure faculty and students that we will be able to express our views in the classroom and respectfully disagree with each other when necessary. And we ask that when the situation calls for it, university leadership remain unequivocal in its protection of the right to nonviolent assembly and protest by students, faculty, and staff.

We, the undersigned, stand with all members of our American University community as we work to uphold the pledges we have made in this letter. We thank you all for your hard work today and in the coming months.

Yours Sincerely,

Malini Ranganathan
Assistant Professor, SIS

Aaron P. Boesenecker
Assistant Professor, SIS

Patrick Thaddeus Jackson
Professor, SIS

Daniel E. Esser
Associate Professor, SIS

Randolph Persaud
Associate Professor, SIS

Cathy Schneider
Associate Professor, SIS

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