Psychology Community Statement on Richard Spencer
Dear Psychology Community,
You are likely aware that the University of Michigan is in negotiations with representatives of Richard Spencer, a known White supremacist, regarding Spencer possibly giving a talk on our campus. We recognize that Spencer was not invited by the University to speak, and that President Schlissel has asserted that a Spencer talk will NOT be scheduled if the safety of our campus community could not be assured (see http://publicaffairs.vpcomm.umich.edu/free-speech-and-speakers-on-campus/ for more information).
We completely and vehemently oppose the views espoused by Spencer and others of his ilk. Although the outcome of his request is yet unknown, we oppose his possible visit to campus on several grounds:
a) As members of this university community, our mission is to educate and advance society through communicating and creating knowledge. We oppose hate speech because it violates our moral and ethical values, our academic principles, and undermines our scholarly mission.
b) As psychological scientists, we see the views of White supremacists to be baseless and contradicted by sound science, and therefore they have no place in a higher education setting.
c) There is great potential for physical danger to members of our community, given the record of violence at similar events on other campuses (e.g., https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/8/14/16143168/charlottesville-va-protests).
d) The views espoused at these events can cause great emotional harm to members of our community, both majority and minority, who feel targeted, threatened, angry, and depressed by such divisive hate speech.
Campus talks by members of White supremacist and other hate groups are in direct opposition to the core values integral to the excellence of our department. Our Department has long engaged in efforts to support a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, with the participation of faculty, students, and staff (https://lsa.umich.edu/psych/diversity.html). The Department of Psychology will continually strive to uphold our commitment to fostering a strong and inclusive community that welcomes and supports individuals from all social identity groups.
Patti, Cindy, Chris, Denise, Jen, Brian, and the members of the Psychology Diversity Committee
Patricia Reuter-Lorenz, Chair, Psychology Department
Cindy Lustig, Associate Chair of Academic Affairs
Chris Monk, Associate Chair of Faculty Development
Denise Sekaquaptewa, Associate Chair of Diversity Initiatives
Jennifer Barnett, Chief Administrator
Brian Wallace, Director of Student Academic Affairs
Rona Carter, Faculty Member of the Psychology Diversity Committee
Ed Chang, Faculty Member of the Psychology Diversity Committee
Ben Dantzer, Faculty Member of the Psychology Diversity Committee
Kevin Constante Toala, Graduate Student Member of the Psychology Diversity Committee
Taraz Lee, Faculty Member of the Psychology Diversity Committee
Julia Liao, Graduate Student Member of the Psychology Diversity Committee
Jennifer Piemonte, Graduate Student Member of the Psychology Diversity Committee
Alexandra Rosati, Faculty Member of the Psychology Diversity Committee
Isaiah Sypher, Graduate Student Member of the Psychology Diversity Committee