Dr. Mary Meehan, Seton Hall’s interim president, released a statement on August 16 that condemned the white nationalist rally that occurred in Charlottesville, Va. during the weekend of August 11.
“The worst impulses of humanity were on display,” Meehan wrote in her letter, “a toxic mix of racism, anti-Semitism, and willful ignorance.”
“As a Catholic institution, we stand in unity with those who were targeted by the racists in Charlottesville,” Meehan went on. “Likewise, we stand against everything that the white supremacist marchers represent: hatred, violence, bigotry, and the continuing division of God’s people.”
The Student Government Association (SGA) drafted a resolution requesting that Meehan respond, unknowing that she had already drafted her letter. SGA will have an emergency senate meeting on August 22 to pass the resolution, their own way of speaking out.
Meehan concluded her letter by reminding students who feel personally affected by the events in Charlottesville that the Seton Hall community “stands by and with them.”
Meehan explained via email why she wrote the letter in response to the events.
“I wrote the piece because I thought it was important as we begin a new year at Seton Hall to be mindful of how important it is to be a community where such an atrocity can never occur,” Meehan said. “We are a Catholic University where all belong, and where no one should ever experience discrimination and hatred.”
She then applauded the SGA for requesting that she release the statement. A representative from SGA had been in contact with Meehan to let her know that they would be asking for her to respond publicly.
“It is edifying for me as interim president to see the courage and values of our students,” Meehan said. “They are an inspiration.”
Eduardo Mendoza, sophomore finance major and co-author of the resolution, described why he felt prompted to address the issue.
“I truly felt the urge to take action and perhaps unify the sentiments and voices of repudiation that the people I represent might feel,” Mendoza said. “Ultimately, Seton Hall must keep its commitment to embrace diversity and an open mind.”
Marlene Da Cruz, sophomore political science major and co-author to the resolution, also commented on why she felt she needed to take action.
“I felt obligated to act not only because I am a part of SGA, but because I am an American, I am a human being and I strongly believe no one should be treated in a manner that demeans their character based on their skin tone,” Da Cruz said.
Da Cruz then said that the values showcased in Charlottesville represented hate, ignorance, and bigotry.
“These ideals are not welcomed nor do they belong on any college campus across the nation,” she said.