To the Law School Community:

The recent tragic events in Charlottesville—and perhaps just as much their aftermath—remain raw and highly unsettling. Our community and our country must wrestle with how to understand and respond to the events themselves and the way President Trump has characterized them.

There is no ambiguity here: The racist and anti-Semitic views widely and openly proclaimed by those protesting removal of a Confederate memorial are utterly repugnant and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Speech enjoys broad protection—by the First Amendment in some settings, by principles of academic freedom in others. But that does not preclude us from identifying some ideas as deeply offensive to our values as a nation and indeed to basic notions of humanity. To suggest equivalence between those who march to spew hate and those who march to oppose it is twisted and cynical.

Sadly, we cannot consider the events in Charlottesville as an aberration; the legacy of racial oppression and hatred in this country is long, and bigotry is more widespread than many of us would like to believe. My office is working to organize a discussion program that will examine this history, the recent events, and how we might find a path forward. 

Sent to the NYU Law community on August 17, 2017