Sign the Letter to Rescind Donald Trump's Honorary Lehigh Degree
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To: The Executive Committee of the Lehigh University Board of Trustees
Date: November 5, 2020
In a June message to the Lehigh University community, President John Simon ‘19P & Board Chair Kevin Clayton ’84 ‘13P, affirmed the goal of making Lehigh an Antiracist institution. Due to our mission of engaging, developing, and empowering all Lehigh students, staff, and faculty in order to cultivate a more inclusive campus environment, the Office of Multicultural Affairs wholeheartedly supports Lehigh’s goal of Antiracism and is uniquely positioned to be a leading partner in the vital work of transforming Lehigh into an Antiracist institution. It is because we @ OMA (along with other units, offices, departments, and students/staff/faculty & alumni) have and will continue to work hard & tirelessly in aiding Lehigh in achieving this Antiracist goal that OMA demands of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees at Lehigh University to rescind the honorary degree of Donald Trump. OMA believes that it is hypocritical and alarmingly tone deaf for Lehigh University to dedicate itself to becoming an Antiracist institution while also publicly showing its support for the rampant white supremacy and outright xenophobia displayed by the current U.S. President Donald Trump.
Since arriving at Lehigh over 8 months ago I have had the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with incredibly talented, dedicated, and mission driven students, staff, faculty & alumni across the University. After the deaths of George Floyd, Breonnna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and after the call to action by a number of Black students and alumni during this summer’s BLM Town Hall so many of us here at Lehigh have dedicated our energy & efforts to taking on the critical work of transforming Lehigh into an Antiracist institution. A great majority of Black staff/faculty/students & alumni, Indigenous staff/faculty/students & alumni, and staff/faculty/students & alumni of color have demonstrated our love for this institution by doing this work in the face of so much adversity. So today, OMA demands that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees at Lehigh University demonstrates that they see, hear, and respect the humanity of all of us and display their ability to stand in solidarity with all of our Antiracism work and efforts by rescinding the honorary degree of U.S. President Donald Trump.
OMA believes that Black Lives Matter! We believe it is more than a slogan that you say when you need to display your “I’m not racist” bona fides. The current national campaign and election of 2020 showed us that Black Lives and all the lives of all BIPOC people across this country were on the ballot. Because of this fact we stand in solidarity with all efforts to continue counting all of the legal and valid votes in this election. Because of this fact we ask the Board of Trustees to realize that their vote matters! We demand that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees cast its ballots to rescind the honorary degree of Donald Trump!
OMA understands that this demand is a symbolic demand that does not require the establishment of any new policy or procedure. However, OMA also understands that this demand to rescind the honorary degree of Donald Trump is more than just a symbol --- it is THE symbol! It is THE symbol that Lehigh University will align its words and its actions in this incredible work of transforming Lehigh into an Antiracist institution. It is THE symbol to demonstrate the commitment and support that Lehigh University has for all of the students, staff, faculty and alumni (especially those who identify as BIPOC) who wake up everyday and work hard to make this place a more welcoming and inclusive environment. It is THE symbol that Lehigh University is committed to changing its culture so that it becomes an institution that will NEVER tolerate or downplay any efforts to dehumanize or discriminate against any member of the Lehigh community --- regardless of the identities they claim or how they choose to show up in the world.
OMA demands that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees rescind the honorary degree of Donald Trump now and not later! Do it immediately & don’t drag your feet or take too long to deliberate! The soul of Lehigh shall be revealed in your decision.
Director, Office of Multicultural Affairs
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