The faculty-generated website, unrfacultyagainstracism.net, which includes a letter from faculty at the University stating that "we unequivocally reject white supremacy and racism," had reached more than 300 signatures of support by Monday afternoon - the first day of fall instruction at the University. By Tuesday morning, the number had grown to 540 signatures.
The letter, which originally had been signed by a group of concerned faculty members last week in response to the news that a current University student had participated in the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va., a little more than two weeks ago, had been issued originally as a collective letter to students "that affirms our values as educators and academics," the original signatories said.
The goal has been to circulate the letter, with the aim to "have every faculty member at UNR sign the letter to let our students know of our commitment to our university's mission to create a welcoming learning environment for all." The letter was first signed by Christopher Church, Emily Hobson, Deborah Boehm, Deborah Achtenberg, Daniel Morse, Jake Dorman, Jeneanne Ferguson, Meredith Oda, Jen Hill, Ann Keniston and Cari Cunningham.
Since then, President Marc Johnson and Provost Kevin Carman have signed the letter, as well as scores of academic, administrative faculty and staff members. Johnson, in his welcome address to the University's first-year students on Friday, had read the letter in its entirety.
The letter reads: "To our students: "We unequivocally reject white supremacy and racism.
"The racist violence in Charlottesville requires that we reaffirm our commitment to equality, justice, and democracy in society, on campus, and in our classrooms. No matter the name or label, white supremacist, anti-Semitic, and racist thought and action are antithetical to our values. We will uphold the University's mission, which states that UNR 'recognizes and embraces the critical importance of diversity' and 'is committed to a culture of excellence, inclusion, and accessibility.'
"We recognize that racism is endemic to our society and institutions, and we pledge to understand and combat it, including through our collective scholarship, teaching, and service.
"We want you, our students, to know that we are committed to creating a campus where all can learn. Our doors are open should you want support."