Andi Dahmer, Student Government Association president, signed a letter demonstrating solidarity with the University of Virginia after the violent protests that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia last week.
Dahmer, a junior, is one of more than 120 student government presidents who signed an open letter in support of the University of Virginia. Other signers of the letter include the student government presidents of the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, Centre College, Kentucky State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville.
“We are united with the students of the University of Virginia, as what affects one of our campuses affects us all,” the letter reads. “College campuses are spaces that students should be able to call home, not places of violence, hate, and racism.”
Sarah Kenny, Student Council president of the University of Virginia, said when she read the letter, she felt “overwhelmed by joy and amazement.”
“Although we feel isolated and fearful right now, I feel like I’m part of a community,” Kenny said. “I’m excited to join a workforce where so many people are ready to stand for justice.”
Although she was not present on campus when the protests took place, Kenny, a senior, said she felt a “palpable difference” in the atmosphere of the campus after the protests occurred, and that “some people have been fearful and anxious moving forward this semester.”
However, Kenny said it has also been “remarkable” because of the community that has developed from the tragedy.
“Students are coming together with an effort to go above and beyond,” Kenny said.
Kenny said she wants to thank all of the university presidents who signed the letter.
“They have inspired me, touched me and encouraged me because of their robust support,” Kenny said. “This letter is a message to the world that ‘this is what we stand for.’”
Dahmer said it is one of her goals for the semester to work across the university to develop “cultural competency training.”
“Discrimination of any kind, whether that be based upon race, sex, gender identity or otherwise cannot be tolerated,” Dahmer said.
Dahmer also said the letter was to demonstrate solidarity on college campuses across the nation and to stand up against racism and discrimination at WKU.
“That is truly the spirit of this letter, not only to show that Student Body Presidents around the U.S. stand together against hate and against discrimination, but that we will not stand for actions of this kind on our campus,” Dahmer said.
Reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected]