To the Editor: Reflect on morality of “Finish the Wall’ message displayed

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From: Faculty and staff of World Languages and Cultures

Dear Editor:

Yesterday at the Student Involvement Fair, a Recognized Student Organization displayed a large sign at the entrance of the University Ballroom that read “Trump Pence 2020 Finish the Wall.” The Latinx students, faculty and staff, whom we say we particularly want to recruit and retain, entered the ballroom faced with an assault on their identities and family histories.

A recently hired immigrant staff member from Latin America remarked that she felt so intimidated that she quickly left the ballroom. She went out of her way to avoid walking in front of the two men at the table in order to evade their attention. She felt she needed to hide from them.

The faculty and staff of the Department of World Languages and Cultures strongly condemn the ideas on the RSO’s sign. The sign contradicts both the values of the department, composed of people with a variety of immigrant backgrounds, and the mission of our university. 

To the student members of this organization: We challenge you to reflect on the morality of posting this message for fellow students to see.

To our Latinx students and colleagues, and anyone who felt intimidated by the sign, we say: We see you. We value you. This is not us. You are us.

Sincerely, 

Kristin Routt, professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies; Carlos Amaya, professor of Spanish; Venesa Landrus, professor of Spanish and coordinator of Latin American studies; Leslie Ashley-McLean, office manager for the department of philosophy and foreign languages; Irene Jacobsen, professor of Spanish; Christiane Eydt-Beebe, department chair of world languages and cultures and professor of German; and Blair Watson, professor of French.