The president of Vassar College in New York commemorated the Thanksgiving holiday by sending a special campus-wide message condemning President-elect Donald Trump and his strategic adviser Steve Bannon.
“Dear members of the extended Vassar community,” opened the message from President Jon Chenette. “With the approach of Thanksgiving break, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the texture of campus life in the wake of the recent election.”
Chenette never mentions Trump by name, but makes a series of vague allusions about the threat Trump allegedly represents to various groups.
“As the next chapter in our country’s history takes shape, many of our students, faculty, and staff have concerns and questions about the course the nation will be taking. And they worry about actions threatened, particularly against people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, and others,” he says.
Chenette then touts the various public actions he has taken to stop this perceived threat, by standing up against “hate speech” and condemning Trump’s appointment of Bannon as chief White House strategist.
“I have joined a group of more than 100 college and university presidents in writing to the president-elect urging him to condemn the hate speech and acts of violence being perpetrated across our country,” he says. “I have also joined the historical Seven Sisters Colleges in an open letter to the president-elect’s appointee as chief strategist, who has a shameful record of homophobic and misogynistic statements and support for other hateful speech.”
Chenette ends his message by indicating that this holiday season he is “thankful” for anti-Trump protests on campus.
Chenette’s message also went out to many of the school’s alumni, not all of whom received it well. Vassar graduate Victoria Balfour, who voted for Trump and complained to The Daily Caller News Foundation about the message, also sent emails to the school expressing her displeasure.
“What actions have been threatened by the incoming Trump administration towards people of color?” Balfour said in her own response, which was posted in full by Legal Insurrection. “More than 30 per cent of Hispanics in Florida alone voted for Mr. Trump. He got a higher percentage of African American voters and Hispanics than Mitt Romney. Trump has just nominated Nikki Haley, a woman of Indian descent, for his cabinet. I am frankly outraged at your message. It is irresponsible, misguided, wrong, and inspires fear-mongering.”
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