President Raynard S. Kington and more than 100 other college presidents from around the country distributed an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump today, urging him “to condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate, and acts of violence” that have occurred across the nation since he won the election on Nov. 8. Many of these incidents, some of which have been perpetuated in the President-elect’s name, have occurred on college campuses, endangering and frightening marginalized communities.

In the letter, college presidents commit themselves to promoting the values of democracy, human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination, and ask Trump to do the same. They argue that as leaders, it is their responsibility – and the President-elect’s – to “protect and empower” the most vulnerable.

The letter and the complete list of signatories was published in Inside Higher Ed on November 18, and the text of the letter reads:

Dear President-elect Trump,

As do you, we “seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.” In order to maintain the trust required for such productive engagement, it is essential that we immediately reaffirm the core values of our democratic nation: human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression, and freedom from discrimination. As college and university presidents, we commit ourselves to promoting these values on our campuses and in our communities, and we stand alongside the business, nonprofit, religious, and civic leaders who are doing the same in organizations large and small.

In light of your pledge to be “President for all Americans,” we urge you to condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate, and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name which is now synonymous with our nation’s highest office. In our schools, on job sites and college campuses, on public streets and in coffee shops, members of our communities, our children, our families, our neighbors, our students, and our employees are facing very real threats, and are frightened.

One of the roles of leaders is to protect and empower the most vulnerable. As President-elect, this responsibility rests heavily on you. Let this be a mark of your leadership.

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