President Pierce Addresses Events in Charlottesville

President Sharon Pierce

Dear Minneapolis College Community:

As you may know, there were racially motivated displays of violence this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Despite efforts by local authorities to support planned protests, two law enforcement officers and one counter-protestor died. Dozens more were injured as tensions over racial differences mounted. The violent protests took place, in part, on the University of Virginia (UVA) Charlottesville campus.

While we stand in solidarity with our campus colleagues at UVA, our Minneapolis College Community includes those who may have a wide variety of emotional responses to these events. As a community, I hope you join me in unequivocally denouncing all acts of violence or intimidation whether or not they are racially motivated and in creating inclusive environments where opinions can be shared respectfully.

The following statement by Minnesota State Colleges & Universities, Chancellor Devinder Malhotra expresses the joint concerns of presidents across the system regarding the events in Charlottesville:

“The month of August at our colleges and universities is a time of optimism as a new academic year gets underway. But the horrific events over the weekend on and near the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville have served as a stark reminder that higher education is not immune to exposure to those who promote hate, intolerance, and oppression.

"What was under attack in Virginia was the values our colleges and universities hold dear:

  • That our campuses are places of hope and opportunity for all people
  • That our commitment to diversity and inclusion makes our campuses and our communities stronger
  • That our campuses welcome the robust but civil debate and discussion of ideas
  • That the First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech but not the right to harm those with whom we disagree. 

"Our campus communities are committed to speaking out against the efforts of those who would attempt to divide us based on our differences.

"We stand with the University of Virginia, the City of Charlottesville, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, and we rededicate ourselves to ensuring that our campuses are safe places free of intimidation or fear, where ideas can be debated and where all students – no matter their race or creed or gender – can learn and grow."

“According to an August 13 joint statement, "The Richmond FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division, and the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia have opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly vehicular incident that occurred.”

Thank you, for contributing to and supporting the diverse needs of Minneapolis College's community. Our combined commitment to being a leader in inclusion and equity is creating a welcoming and transformational experience for all students at Minneapolis College.

Dr. Sharon J. Pierce, President, Minneapolis Community and Technical College