Opinion: President Crow must speak out against domestic terrorism

The silence from ASU’s leadership fails to properly facilitate a safe and accepting environment for students who would be targets of violent pro-Trump mobs

The shocking violence at our nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6 was the most heinous attack on our democracy since the Civil War ­— and it demonstrated just how serious an issue far-right terrorism is in the U.S.

The mob of President Donald Trump loyalists were more than insurrectionists, they were white supremacists, anti-Semites, homophobes and misogynists. Comparisons of their treatment to the treatment of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters in June reveal a truly vicious double standard from police and the Pentagon.

Despite the effects the chaos at the Capitol had on students — particularly students of color, LGBTQ+ students and Jewish students — ASU President Michael Crow has yet to condemn the attempted coup and those who took part in it.

Like many other university leaders, Crow has sent many messages concerning the return of ASU students for the spring semester. 

However, none of the messages have included even a short statement regarding the terrifying assault on our nation’s elected officials, unlike statements from many other university leaders.

Crow’s numerous Community of Care initiatives encourage us to protect our community from COVID-19, but what about protecting our community of BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and Jewish students who would be targets of those hate groups that led the attack?

Phoenix Hanes, a sophomore studying music learning and teaching, also felt apprehensive toward the events, expressing that “it made me really scared,” and acknowledged they “know a lot of (their) friends have received death threats just for being gay.” 

The assault on our democracy had very real effects on ASU students, particularly on their mental health, and the lack of response from ASU leadership ignores these effects while implicitly condoning the hateful behavior at the Capitol.

“I feel like not saying anything can say more than even approving of it," Hanes said. "When Crow is staying silent while so many leaders, businesses, university presidents have come out and said it ... It leaves a lot of room for guessing … it makes me feel less comfortable."

Crow must tell students hate and violence will not be tolerated and they will be safe and accepted for who they are while enrolled at ASU.

“People who don’t condemn it are just people who don’t care about their fellow students, people of color, they only care about their appearance," Hanes said.

Hanes believes making a statement would be an important first step in ensuring a safe environment for ASU students and faculty.

“It shows the people who support those terrorists that they are not welcome here," Hanes said. 

The riots, spurned by unfounded allegations of election fraud by Trump and his allies, have not been limited to the Capitol. Protests were held here in Maricopa County near election day by some of the same individuals who attempted to overthrow the government in the Capitol building. 

The lack of a statement of condemnation conflicts with ASU’s stated support of minority communities.

“I remember (Crow) talking about how he was in support of the (Black) community, however when he didn’t respond to the Capitol riots … he seems not to stand by that message,” said Jorja Overbey, a junior studying applied mathematics. 

The numerous false claims about election fraud that have incited violence have irreparably harmed the community, and "the best way (Crow) can help is to spread information,” Overbey said.

The groups that instigated this violence, including the President and many Republican members of Congress who continue to voice conspiracy theories surrounding the election, are emboldened by the silence of those with the power to stop them. A statement from Crow would combat messages of violence and terror. 

When nothing is done to stop domestic terrorism, it implies acceptance of hateful individuals and ideologies.

“What message does that send about ASU in general?” Overbey asked.

At ASU, we are measured by who we include, not by who we exclude. And our inclusion of a wonderfully diverse student body speaks volumes about who we can be.

But our inclusion of white supremacists, homophobes, anti-Semites and terrorists?

It speaks even louder.


 Reach the columnist at tkgerald@asu.edu or follow @TKGeraldMusic on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors. 

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