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Wells College President Gibralter responds after hate crimes in Georgia

Wells College President Jonathan Gibralter condemned the hate crimes that occurred earlier this week in Georgia- after six Asian-Americans were killed in a series of murders. He labeled the attacks domestic terrorism.

He published a lengthy statement on behalf of the school- days after the vicious incidents occurred.

“This incident had been preceded by numerous verbal and physical attacks against Asian Americans in locations across the U.S., with many attackers falsely blaming Asians for the coronavirus pandemic. One group that tracks anti-Asian incidents in this country reported nearly 3,800 incidents of hate, discrimination or attacks targeting Asian Americans during the first 12 months of the pandemic,” he said. “Equally upsetting have been the excuses made in the wake of this tragic incident. The sheriff of Georgia’s Cherokee County, where some of the killings occurred, was quoted as saying the suspect had merely ‘had a bad day’. Make no mistake: this was a hate crime, pure and simple.”

Gibralter says that as the leader of an institution like Wells, he was saddened by the institutional racism that continues in the U.S.

“We should all be deeply saddened by all these incidents and reminded that institutional racism is alive and well in our country. As president of Wells College, I am proud to state that our community stands firmly against anyone who uses violence against Asian Americans, or any other person, because of their race, gender or gender identity. Under no circumstance is this behavior acceptable—anywhere,” he continued. “I challenge all Wellsian students, faculty and staff to be kind to one another; to report incidents that do not represent our community standards; and to educate each other on the harmful effects of bigotry and hate. I have encouraged members of our campus community to share their thoughts and ideas on this topic during a community discussion that is being planned for this Friday afternoon.”

Gibralter shared resources that Wells continues to have in place.

“If you, or someone you know is or has been involved in a situation where you believe that your identity has been attacked, I urge you to report the incident to Campus Safety at [email protected] or 315.364.3229, or to André Lynch at [email protected] or 315.364.3313,” he added. “At Wells College, we expect members of the community to abide by our Community Standards Statement, committing to treat others humanely and with mutual understanding and tolerance.  Any behavior that makes the College atmosphere intimidating, hostile or threatening is unacceptable. We ask for everyone’s help in preventing and reporting incidents of bias and hate speech in support of the Community Standards that define our community as a safe and caring environment for all.”