Recall U-M Regent Ron Weiser for Complicity in Capitol Violence

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The evidence is clear: Ron Weiser is complicit in Wednesday’s historic and horrifying events, and continues to defend their instigators. We demand that he either resign or be recalled by the Board of Regents, and we expect President Schlissel to condemn this threat to all students of color on campus.  

[At the end of this petition is a list of organizations who have endorsed these demands. If you represent a campus-related organization or organization in Michigan, please email afmgirgis@gmail.com to have your organization’s name added to the undersigned of this petition.]

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On January 6, 2021, the world watched as white supremacy stormed America’s Capitol, shed blood, and reasserted its dominance in the American political landscape. Politicians and community leaders swiftly condemned the events, and more importantly, condemned Donald Trump and his enablers for directly inciting the violence.  

But on the morning of Thursday, January 7, University of Michigan Regent Ron Weiser chose instead to stand by the consciously destructive actions of President Trump: 

Asked if Trump bears blame for Wednesday’s violent mob — which some Michigan Republicans like former U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop have done — Weiser demurred. "I don't know. I didn't read any of that stuff, and I didn't watch television. I watched Michigan destroy Minnesota in basketball, and that kind of contest is something that I strongly support." The game started about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, more than five hours after the House and Senate chambers were evacuated amid reported of gunfire inside the Capitol, where police say one woman was fatally shot and three others died from other causes (Bridge Magazine).

This response is merely a continuation of Regent Weiser – incoming co-chair of the Michigan GOP and former RNC fundraising coordinator for President Trump – refusing to condemn Trump’s undisputed endorsement of white supremacist violence. As members of the University of Michigan community, we refuse to stand idly by as one of our Administrators betrays every member of the campus he claims to represent. We demand that Regent Weiser either resign or be recalled and condemned by his fellow Regents and President Schlissel. 

(1) Clarifying Regent Weiser’s unacceptable stance on the Capitol violence 

Initially, we and many others tried to give Weiser the benefit of the doubt with regards to his comments on Thursday. Surely, we thought, he did not condone the actions of a President which have led countless members of Congress to call for the invocation of the 25th Amendment for his removal, and forced  Vice President Pence to move forward in certifying the election results in direct conflict with his President. 

But after pressure to clarify his stance on Trump’s actions, Weiser did not relent. He released a statement “strongly condemn[ing] those people who turned into a mob...after what was supposed to be a peaceful protest. Those who broke the law should be held accountable.” 

Most political leaders – including Republicans – acknowledge that the plan had never been to hold a peaceful protest, and indeed Trump himself signaled support of violence until forced to say otherwise. During Wednesday’s rally, Rudy Giuliani said a “trial by combat” was necessary to settle the election, and Congressman Mo Brooks said “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.Violence was always central to the plan. Simply put, Weiser’s defense of Trump’s actions is a defense of using lies to incite violence and upend American democracy. 

If his words were not enough, Weiser still proudly displays an image of himself with President Trump as his twitter banner (photo attached above). 

(2) Understanding Regent Weiser’s complicity in President Trump’s lies about the Election’s legitimacy 

Unfortunately, Regent Weiser was complicit, and indeed encouraged, the lies which led to Wednesday’s attempted coup. He and Meshawn Maddock are the incoming co-chairs of the Michigan Republican Party after a successful “party takeover”. Maddock was directly involved in organizing the U.S. Capitol Protest, and spoke at a Trump rally the day before the event: 

She spoke at a Trump rally on Tuesday and posted video footage of an activist gathering on Wednesday morning in which a man was heard saying “we need to march to the Capitol when we’re done here and drag these people out of power” (Bridge Magazine).

But, yet again, Weiser insisted that Maddock did not incite Wednesday’s violence, despite direct evidence to the contrary. Regent Ron Weiser himself has challenged the legitimacy of American democracy as far back as 2012, when he made allegations of voter fraud and crime in Detroit. 

We should not have to debate whether a publicly elected official can subvert American democracy and endorse those stoking violence in the Capitol. Ron Weiser must go. 

(3) The University of Michigan must follow up on its statement condemning Wednesday’s events by condemning and recalling Regent Weiser.

Immediately following the catastrophic events at the Capitol, U-M President Schlissel issued a statement condemning the violence: 

"The sight of a violent mob taking over the floor of the U.S. Senate brought tears to my eyes...What distinguishes our form of government is its inviolable respect for the will of the people, where we conduct elections with integrity, count every vote, commit together to uphold the U.S. Constitution and ensure that democracy always prevails" (The Michigan Daily).

If President Schlissel truly believes this, he must immediately use his power to take action against the usurping of democracy at his own University. 

The evidence is clear: Ron Weiser is complicit in Wednesday’s historic and horrifying events, and continues to defend their instigators. We demand that he either resign or be recalled by the Board of Regents, and we expect President Schlissel to condemn this threat to all students of color on campus.  

Endorsed by (list to be updated regularly):

Elected Student Body Representatives

  • Amanda Kaplan and Saveri Nandigama, U-M Ann Arbor Central Student Government President and Vice President
  • Benjamin Gerstein, 2019-2020 Central Student Government President
  • Daniel Greene, 2018-2019 Central Student Government President
  • Anushka Sarkar, 2017-2018 Central Student Government President
  • David Schafer, 2016-2017 Central Student Government President

Campus Organizations

  • Climate Action Movement at the University of Michigan 
  • Roosevelt at the University of Michigan
  • One University Campaign
  • Michigan Student Power Network 
  • United Asian American Organizations at U-M (UAAO)
  • Decolonizing Pedagogies Workshop (Part of U-M Rackham Graduate School) 
  • Students for Reproductive Rights & Justice
  • Students Demand Representation 
  • Black Student Union (U-M Flint)
  • Block Club (U-M Flint)
  • Cinema's Finest (U-M Flint)

Community Organizations

  • Oakland County Democratic Party
  • Rising Voices of Asian American Families
  • Liberate! Don't Incarcerate 
  • Sunrise Ann Arbor
  • Our Revolution Michigan

Labor 

  • U-M Graduate Employees' Organization (AFT-MI Local 3550)
  • Bob King, President Emeritus, UAW International 
  • Ian Robinson, President, Lecturers' Employee Organization (AFT-MI 6244)

Community Leaders

  • Juan Cole, U-M Professor of History, Prominent Author, and Political Commentator
  • Abdul El-Sayed, former Candidate for Michigan Governor
  • Michelle Deatrick, former Vice Chair, Washtenaw County Commission 
  • Levi Teitel, Rural Communications Coordinator, Progress Michigan