Discussion on “WLUFA Denounces Trump Executive Action and Stands in Solidarity with our Muslim Community”

WLUFA has received a number of passionate and eloquent responses (positive and negative) to the statement that we posted yesterday that expressed solidarity with the Muslim community and denounced Trump’s Executive Order.  We’ve kept the statement as is but as one faculty member noted in an email, “The Academy, first and foremost, is a place to have invigorated, passionate, and spirited debate on all issues”.  We’ll add some comments made already and please feel free to continue to discuss these issues in the comments below under “Leave a Reply”.

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One Response to Discussion on “WLUFA Denounces Trump Executive Action and Stands in Solidarity with our Muslim Community”

  1. Jordan Goldstein says:

    Here is my initial response which may have prompted in part, the opening of this forum for discussion.

    To Whom it may concern

    As a new faculty member, I would like some clarification regarding the email circulated yesterday by the WLUFA executive. Is it often that the executive makes inflammatory blanket political statements on behalf of their members? Why did the executive not solicit opinions on such a statement from their members? Is this normal protocol? Are these statements made public, or merely circulated through the Faculty? Given that the executive deems to speak for its members, I find this quite troubling for the following important reason.

    The Academy, first and foremost, is a place to have invigorated, passionate, and spirited debate on all issues. I worry that by making blanket political statements, especially in such an incendiary manner, this may have a chilling effect on the Faculty’s ability to freely express themselves. Furthermore, blanket political statements, especially those that denounce particular policies and personalities masks the reality that political opponents may be able to disagree legitimately about those very issues and personalities. This is not to say the statement is wrong or right in its substance, that is not the point I that wish to make. By acting in a political way, the WLUFA has potentially made it difficult for faculty to be able to investigate topics and interpret events and ideas from a wide range of perspectives, particularly those that do not conform to popular opinion. Personally, I am horrified by the attacks in Quebec City, but how does politicizing the pain and suffering of our fellow Canadians further lead to healing in our obviously fractured society? All that can do is create further divisions. We must be able to come together in rational debate without prejudice to ideas if we are to peacefully deal with the issues that confront us. The statement by the WLUFA stands to divide us further, especially in the Academy where we must maintain strength in the conviction that freedom of speech and inquiry are the MOST important principles we should enshrine and protect. We must stand up for the ability of those who disagree, on any such issue, to feel safe, valued, and protected in the University setting. This is what distresses me about the letter circulated. I appreciate your time and effort in responding to my concerns, and hope to have some answers about why the WLUFA deemed it appropriate to speak for all of the faculty in a political manner without our consultation. Thank you.

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