More than 400 Penn faculty members have signed a letter to President Elect Donald Trump demanding that he "immediately and publicly denounce" the "actions of those who violently assaulted our Black first-year students via social media on Friday" (Nov. 11).
On that day, six black freshmen at Penn – four female and two male – received violent and racist messages via a GroupMe app named "N-Lynching." The Penn students were joined onto the group without their knowledge or permission, said Maureen Rush, Penn's VP for public safety.
"The attackers", the faculty writes, "followed a disturbing pattern that we, as a country, saw play itself out in the long weeks of the presidential campaign and in the harmful alliances that you built in your path to the election."
The attacks, which are being investigated by the FBI, the Philly Police and Penn administrators, have drawn public condemnation from PA Gov. Tom Wolf, Philly Mayor Jim Kenney and numerous Penn students, staff, alumni and faculty.
But "You, Mr. President-Elect, Penn alum '68," the faculty writes, "have been noticeably silent."
The letter was written by a handful of faculty members in response to student-led protests that called for the campus community to act on their stated disavowals of the attacks, says Sharon Hayes, a PennDesign associate professor of fine arts.
"A group of us gathered in that spirit to do what we felt we could do," which was to ask Trump to address the attacks aimed at his own alma mater's students. "As a member of our community, we want to hear his condemnation of what happened, loud and clear."