For years, Donald J. Trump has flaunted his undergraduate business degree from the University of Pennsylvania's prestigious Wharton School as proof of his self-proclaimed brilliance.
Now, a growing number of Wharton students, graduates and supporters are telling Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, to stop taking the name of their school in vain. They say that Trump has made a mockery of the Wharton values of inclusion and tolerance during his campaign, and avow that he does not represent them.
"Although we do not aim to make any political endorsements with this letter, we do express our unequivocal stance against the xenophobia, sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry that you have actively and implicitly endorsed in your campaign," an open letter to Trump, published Friday on Medium, says.
As of late Saturday afternoon, the letter had been signed by 1,079 people affiliated with Wharton, including students, graduates, faculty, and family members of the same.
It cites Trump's denigrating comments about Muslims, women and undocumented Latino immigrants – and also alludes to anti-Semitic themes that have appeared in some campaign communications.
Prejudice is morally wrong, the authors write, but it's also bad for business.
"We are dedicated to promoting inclusion not only because diversity and tolerance have been repeatedly proven to be valuable assets to any organization's performance, but also because we believe in mutual respect and human dignity as deeply held values," the open letter says.
"Your insistence on exclusion and scapegoating would be bad for business and bad for the American economy. An intolerant America is a less productive, less innovative, and less competitive America."