Farley: Fear, bigotry not consistent with Washburn values

Charles Rankin and Jessica Knieff

After a weekend of turmoil in Charlottesville, VA, Washburn University President Jerry Farley issued a message to the Washburn community.

Farley’s response came during a week where many leaders in politics, business and education have issued similar statements of condemnation for the actions of white nationalists who have protested during the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in a local Charlottesville park.

One particular incident, brought about by conflict between these white nationalist protesters and counter protesters, saw one person killed and 19 others injured after one of the white nationalist protesters purposefully crashed his car into a group of counter protesters Aug. 12.

University Relations released the following statement from Farley on social media and sent it via email to all faculty members Aug. 15.

“In our country, hate groups have the privilege of their beliefs and free expression and often use that to create fear and bigotry. Those beliefs are not consistent with the values of Washburn University. We condemn the sad events that took place this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, and we ask you to work with us to create an environment where hate, racism and radical ideology have no place, not only in our community, but in America.”

This statement calls on the campus community to uphold the core values of the university, one of which is respect. Washburn’s website describes this core value by saying that we practice respect by “embracing diversity and treating others collegially with civility, openness and professionalism in all interactions, activities and decision making.”

Campus leaders also chimed in on the issue. Scott Weinkauf, WSGA vice president, made an unofficial statement on his personal facebook and twitter this week.

“This will not divide us anymore, let this bring us together,” Weinkauf said. “If you believe this doesn’t affect you, you’re mistaken. Those actions were aimed at specific identities, but have no doubt, this was a crime against all humanity.”

Weinkauf urged the community to take action by saying that rather than pointing out others’ mistakes, one should look at themselves in the mirror and find a way to help address this issue.