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Redoubling Our Effort in the Wake of Virginia: A Message from President John Ettling

The following message was sent to the SUNY Plattsburgh community following the Aug. 11-13 weekend events in Charlottesville, Va.:

Campus Community,

It is difficult to grasp — though it is no less a fact — that white supremacy, xenophobia, and racist beliefs are still a part of our landscape. We see this across the country — from the American South to New York state.

As president of a college that serves students, parents, taxpayers, and our local community, I am writing to condemn in no uncertain terms these reprehensible actions and the dark propaganda that feeds them. I am also committed to working with other leaders, helping lead tough conversations, and committing to the hard work that will never stop until we eliminate bigotry and prejudice.

I am also proud to share the bold words of our Student Association President Vrinda A. Kumar. They are attached below.

Such messages serve a clarifying purpose. But statements of outrage alone are not enough. As we prepare for the students who will soon fill our classrooms, we must redouble our efforts in support of inclusion and pluralism.

It is my work. It is the work of all of us. And more of it will continue as the semester begins and the spring semester follows.

There are no simple answers. The face of white supremacy, while still ugly, is different in 2017 and intertwined with new political groups and movements.

The news of the day moves with a swiftness we have not seen before. Uncertain times in international relations only adds to the level of tension and stress.

In the midst of all that, we must remain firm on our foundation of valuing diversity, celebrating the gifts in each of us, and fighting against that which does neither.

John Ettling


Dear SUNY Plattsburgh community,

The world watched the horrific incidents of hate and violence that unfolded yesterday in Virginia. The ongoing, appalling and growing number of hate crimes all around the world and this country is truly disheartening to watch. After all, the motive of hate, is to to divide and belittle us.

"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over it by the good people." — Dr King

Today I ask you for your help. No matter who you are, I ask each and every one of you not to ignore these incidents, to not be a bystander and to definitely not let this make you doubt yourself or your ability to make a difference. This is not about politics it is about humanity.

Allow yourself sometime to process what is happening, ignore those who tell you how to feel and be there for those who are hurting. In times like these hope is all we have, and hope, is all we should give.

If there is anything I or the Student Association can do for you, please do reach out on  [email protected].

Take good care.

Best Regards,

Vrinda A Kumar
Student Association — President
SUNYSA — Representative
Moffitt Hall — Head RA

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