They think Trump defended Nazis.
Some Liberty University graduates have decided to return their diplomas to the university as a way to protest the school’s President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s support of President Donald Trump, especially after Trump’s remarks after Charlottesville. From NPR:
Chris Gaumer, a former Student Government Association president and 2006 graduate, said it was a simple decision.
“I’m sending my diploma back because the president of the United States is defending Nazis and white supremacists,” Gaumer said. “And in defending the president’s comments, Jerry Falwell Jr. is making himself and, it seems to me, the university he represents, complicit.”
Trump has been criticized — including by many Republicans — for a series of statements after an anti-racist counterprotester was killed by an alleged Nazi sympathizer who drove his car into the crowd.
Trump initially responded by blaming “many sides” for the violence, and then made a statement condemning white supremacists, before eventually giving an off-the-cuff statement in which he claimed that there were “very fine people on both sides.”
Falwell responded the next day with a tweet praising Trump’s statement and adding, “So proud of @realdonaldtrump.”
In a group letter being prepared to be sent to university officials, several alumni declare their intention to return their diplomas and call for Falwell to repudiate Trump’s remarks:
“While this state of affairs has been in place for many months, the Chancellor’s recent comments on the attack upon our neighbors in Charlottesville have brought our outrage and our sorrow to a boiling point. During the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, white supremacists, nationalists, and neo-Nazis perpetrated brutal violence against anti-racist protesters, murdering one woman and injuring many. Instead of condemning racist and white nationalist ideologies, Mr. Trump provided equivocal and contradictory comments. The Chancellor then characterized Mr. Trump’s remarks, which included the claim that some of the persons marching as white nationalists and white supremacists at the rally were ‘very fine people,’ as ‘bold’ and ‘truthful.’ This is incompatible with Liberty University’s stated values, and incompatible with a Christian witness.”
Georgia Hamann, a 2006 alumna and an attorney in Phoenix, Ariz., helped pen the letter.
“We’re asking that Liberty University return to its stated values and accept that the pursuit of power is leading it into some dark places, and really repudiate that,” she said. “The word in Baptist and evangelical circles is ‘repent.’… You know, truly a turning away from wrong conduct.”
Alumni who can’t find their diplomas are being asked to sign the group letter or write individual letters to Falwell expressing their concerns.
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