CSULB president condemns campus violence, embraces peaceful protest

College President Jane Close Conoley sent out a campus-wide email on Aug. 15 condemning racism and acts of violence amid the incidents at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

The president sent out the message over the summer break in response to the national coverage and attention focused on Charlottesville to defend the first amendment, but to also stress campus values of doing so peacefully.

“We have zero tolerance for violence,” Conoley said in the email. “Threatening others with weapons or fists negates one’s right of assembly.”

The message was sent shortly after protests to remove a Confederate-era statue of Robert E. Lee became violent between protesters and opposers, which left one woman dead and several others injured.

Conoley went on to denounce all forms of discrimination, and said there is no place in the U.S. for Neo-Nazis, white supremacists or nationalists. She also condemned Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group, which posted propaganda around CSULB in February.

“Driving a vehicle into a peaceful crowd is a form of domestic terrorism,” Conoley continued.

The University Police officers and campus officials are on standby to protect the campus from any threats, she wrote.

The president went on to say as the U.S. continues to become more diverse, it is becoming a “global beacon” of possibilities for all groups.

Sometimes there’s a blip on the radar, but this is a diverse college,” said Sgt. Keith Caires said in an earlier interview with the Daily 49er. “We just aren’t a campus with those kind of problems.”

CSULB ranked high in ethnic campus diversity in 2016, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges.

“We welcome vigorous debate. We value diversity.” Conoley said. “We will not, however, tolerate any insider or outsider who plans to do harm to people or property.”

Conoley went on to say groups obeying the campus “time place and manner” policies are allowed to rent venues or rally across campus. Those policies are in accordance with federal, state and local laws, according to CSULB’s website.

The campus Time place and Manner regulations also state freedom of expression and assembly cannot interfere with campus safety, classes or any other scheduled academic activity. Free speech of others cannot be tuned out by amplified noise.p

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