• 70°

My turn, Tremayne Smith: ECU alumni denounce remarks by Trump

By Tremayne Smith

As former East Carolina University student body leaders and proud alumni allow us to unequivocally express what the university’s official statement did not: we categorically denounce the expression of racism on our campus.

We are appalled by the racist chant that occurred at the president’s rally on the campus of our beloved alma mater. We are aware that ECU did not endorse this rally. It was abiding by the UNC System’s guidelines regarding event hosting and ensuring free speech.

As a student body, we have a proud tradition of welcoming candidates of various affiliations to share their plans and to spark healthy dialogue. But what we heard last week was not consistent with East Carolina University’s values of inclusion, diversity, nor the essence of its creed.

Rep. Ilhan Omar— the target of the chant — is a refugee of war, an immigrant to our country, a woman of color and a duly elected member of Congress. She drew the ire of a racist tweet from the president, telling her to “go back to where she came from.” This racist smear is unfortunately all too familiar for many people of color. Last week, supporters of Donald Trump doubled down on this racist trope and chanted “send her back.”

“Send her back” is not inclusive.

“Send her back” is not American.

“Send her back” is not East Carolina University.

If we should “go back” to anything, let it be to a time where the promise etched on the base of Lady Liberty still rang true: “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” We are a nation of immigrants, and it is only out of many that we are one.

As alumni, we are devoted to our university and are committed to it being seen in a positive light. To all those who were offended by that horrid display of vitriol — especially people of color and immigrants of all religions — know that as a university, this is not who we are. This is not how we are. The East Carolina University that we know is an institution that is inclusive and welcoming. At ECU, “y’all means all”.

Silence by anyone in the face of blatant bigotry and racism is complicity. So fellow Pirates, university administration and all citizens should continue standing up and speaking out against hate in all forms.

Smith is from Salisbury, a 2011 alumnus of ECU and the school’s former student body president.

Comments

BREAKING NEWS

Chauvin convicted on all counts in George Floyd’s death

Local

Top North Carolina House finance chair, Rowan representative stripped of position

Crime

One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return

News

Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina

Nation/World

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday

Crime

Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?

Local

City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event

Local

Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race

Crime

Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children

Coronavirus

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Nation/World

Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting

News

Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?

Local

Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina

BREAKING NEWS

Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide