Faculty senate calls upon UVM values

Professors convened to reaffirm UVM’s values after the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

A faculty senate resolution, presented by sociology professor John Streeter and Faculty Senate Vice President Jan Carney on Jan. 23, states UVM will continue to uphold its values and help those experiencing harassment and persecution.

Streeter and Carney decided to create the proposal after seeing the concern of students of color in his class the day after the election, Streeter said.

“I wanted to say, ‘Don’t worry, it will be alright,’ and I realized I couldn’t say that and be honest,” Streeter said.

He said he wanted to reaffirm UVM’s values for the faculty as well.

“Science and tolerance are actively under assault inside universities in various parts across the country,” Streeter said.

Carney said we must, as a university, uphold our values established in the Common Ground.

“It’s the power of words, and the power of our unity and expressing those words,” she said.

Junior Rajit Sachdeva said he is not a fan of Trump’s immigration policies and supports what the faculty senate is doing.

“I’m all for inclusiveness,” Sachdeva said.

Senior Ebikebuna Rufus said he is not surprised  Trump has been consistent with his stance on immigration.

“However, I don’t think this is the best way to fight illegal immigration or terrorism,” Rufus said. “It could actually fuel the ongoing crisis.”

History Professor Steve Zdatny said he worried the language could limit free speech on campus.

By then, English professor Hyon Joo Yoo had stood from her seat to voice her support for the resolution.

As someone who wears racial differences, I get reminded daily in this city,” Joo Yoo said. “Actually knowing that there are some of us, some of you who have the courage to make this statement, that there will be space available for someone like me, it’s great encouragement.”

The University needs to show support for those who will be negatively affected by new legislation, she said.

“Divisions are being drawn and we need to find some way to unify,” Joo Yoo said. “Those divisions are making social warfare, culture warfare, racial warfare and gender warfare.”

Students have come to her seeking advice on how the new presidential administration will affect them, she said.

After the election, a student of mine — an African American student –came to me and said, ‘What should I do?’ He’s only 18,” Joo Yoo said, “but he knew very well the ramifications of what’s going on in this country.”

The resolution was passed.