Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
As the University of Florida continues to support the peaceful gathering of students at Turlington Plaza in response to the man with a swastika on his armband, I want to be clear that I do not accept such symbols of hate.
As noted in Tuesday afternoon’s university statement, swastikas are symbols associated with the Holocaust, which exterminated six million Jews as well as multitudes of individuals from other persecuted groups on the basis of their race, religion or sexual orientation. The University of Florida encourages inclusion, respect and empathy for others, not hate.
Many people have contacted the university to ask that the individual be removed from campus. While I decry and denounce all symbols of hate, the individual, who is not a faculty, staff member or student, was expressing his First Amendment rights and we could not legally remove him from public areas of campus.
The UF administration, staff and campus police continue to monitor the situation closely. I encourage everyone at the university to participate in open and civil dialogue as we continue to support each other and build a caring community.
As always, if you are aware of members of the UF community in distress, please contact U Matter, We Care at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a victim of a crime or see something suspicious, please report it to the police.
W. Kent Fuchs
President, University of Florida