500 UM faculty sign letter vowing to defend against post-election hate

University of Miami President Julio Frenk
University of Miami President Julio Frenk

More than 500 faculty at the University of Miami have signed a letter that was published in the student newspaper on Thursday vowing to defend against hate and intimidation following the presidential election.

The letter, published in The Miami Hurricane, calls on the UM community to make sure the school “remains a community of belonging, dedicated to the collective pursuit of new knowledge in a climate of mutual respect.”

“Joining other faculty across the country, we pledge that our classrooms, labs, libraries, and offices will remain spaces where the targeting of anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and/or disability is unacceptable, that we will speak out against intolerance, and that we will do our very best to model and teach critical thinking,” the letter reads.

A group of about a dozen UM faculty from the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Communication, and the School of Law met the week after the presidential election to discuss how they should respond to reports of hate speech at campuses across the country. They decided to draft a letter to the university community and asked two English professors to write it.

“We wanted students and anyone who works at the university to know that professors are concerned about the anxiety that they might be feeling and whatever it is that might come up,” said Brenna Munro, who drafted the letter with fellow English professor Tim Watson.

The letter circulated on social media and through email and was signed by faculty from a wide variety of departments on three campuses, including the Coral Gables campus, the Miller School of Medicine and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

UM President Julio Frenk has also sent a letter to faculty, staff and students calling on the UM community to “set an example of inclusion, civility, and kindness for the country and for the rest of the world.” Megan Ondrizek, a UM spokeswoman, said that she was not aware of any incidents of hate speech at the university.