After the events that occurred in Charlottesville the night of Aug. 11 and the following morning, many prominent figures made statements. From Donald Trump’s poorly received speech to Jimmy Fallon’s opening monologue touching on the events, our own Mauri Ditzler, Albion College’s president, joined the ranks of people who issued a remark.
An email was sent to all faculty, staff and students on Aug. 16 from Ditzler discussing his experiences on liberal arts campuses and the unique environment they create to work against hateful acts. He stated, “I have elected to spend most of my life on liberal arts college campuses because they are populated with professors, coaches, counselors and experienced students who have found an antidote to hatred. Seminars on controversial subjects are opportunities to teach another generation the value of listening to those with opposing views, the value of making an argument without alienating, and the importance of cultivating a sympathetic imagination.”
In the past, Albion has shown its support for people of all races and religions through unity rallies. Ditzler described these as “grass root events” where “members of the community see a need and arrange an event.” While there has not been any action taken among students regarding Charlottesville, a group of faculty and staff did discuss the Unite the Right rally.
“Thinking carefully about what we say and paying attention to what some call political correctness doesn’t deprive us of freedom of our speech. It can, instead, give us the joy of building those coalitions that others are trying to destroy,” was one of the pieces of advice Ditzler gave in his remarks about how students can work against the mindset of those participating in Charlottesville. In a response to a few emailed questions, he also listed stepping up as leaders to be an action students can take to make a difference. “Leadership, of course, goes far beyond elected leadership. Stepping forward and saying “we can do better than that” or “that is not how we do things at Albion” is the essence of leadership.”
While what occurred in Charlottesville may seem far away from our small college town, the actions of some hit a bit closer to home. The Detroit Red Wings team and NHL have issued statements about a logo looking very similar to the Red Wings being used by Unite the Right rally members. “The Detroit Red Wings vehemently disagree with and are not associated in any way with the event taking place today in Charlottesville, Va. The Red Wings believe that hockey is for everyone and celebrate the great diversity of our fan base and our nation. We are exploring every possible legal action as it pertains to the misuse of our logo in this disturbing demonstration,” the Red Wing’s said in a statement. A lion similar to the Detroit Lion’s logo was also spotted in Charlottesville, resulting in their team condemning the use of their image as well.
As Ditzler reminds us, “Our work in the coming year will not be easy….We didn’t need to be reminded of the challenges ahead, but the events of this past weekend serve to call upon us to redouble our efforts.”
Photo by Katie Boni