For over two years, we have witnessed repeated proposals and implementation of hateful policy, and daily threats and acts of horrific racist violence that mirror Donald Trump’s language. In the wake of this reality, it is unconscionable for anyone who believes in safety, equity and inclusion to remain silent.
The recent news that Stephen Ross, a fellow alumnus and university benefactor, is hosting a high dollar fundraiser for Donald Trump’s re-election is deeply disturbing. Stephen Ross has been a close friend and supporter of the University of Michigan. His name is strewn across campus buildings and associated strongly with university institutions. This is why we, as fellow alumni and university supporters, are compelled to speak up and condemn Stephen Ross’ support for Donald Trump.
Stephen Ross is not simply an average voter or supporter. His support of Trump, without regard to Trump’s racist ideology and policy, cannot be ignored. Stephen Ross’ financial resources and support of Trump will directly fund the Trump campaign’s infrastructure and Trump’s potential re-election, both of which present a clear and present danger to the Constitution, the rule of law, and to communities across our nation.
Simply stated, supporting -- in deed and dollar -- Donald Trump’s predisposition and commitment to white supremacy, xenophobia, corruption, and clinical ignorance is flatly inconsistent with the values and legacy of the University of Michigan.
The University of Michigan is a historic institution whose express mission includes “developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.” Stephen Ross’ contribution to the advancement of Trump’s cruel policies not only fails to enrich our future, it actively undermines it. We have deep concerns for the implications of Ross’ support for Trump and its inevitable association with the University of Michigan, including on student recruitment, morale, and long term reputation.
We implore that Stephen Ross disavow his support for Trump, including canceling the scheduled fundraiser. If he refuses to do so, we ask that the University remove Ross’ name from campus buildings and signage, and solicit student and alumni input into whether and how to reconsider his philanthropic contributions to the University.
This is an unprecedented moment, which calls for unprecedented action. As history watches, our university and alma mater community deserve better.