You Are Not a Hokie: An Open Letter to Steve Bannon
Dear Mr. Bannon:
At the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), students, faculty and staff are taught the values of community, respect and inclusiveness. Do you remember your alma mater’s motto? Allow us to refresh your memory. It is “Ut Prosim,” Latin for “that I may serve.” This service to others does not discriminate. Our principles of community state that "we reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including those based on age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status. We take individual and collective responsibility for helping to eliminate bias and discrimination and for increasing our own understanding of these issues through education, training, and interaction with others."
In light of the Executive Order banning citizens from seven Muslim majority states (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen), we view your actions as a direct attack on the values the Virginia Tech community holds. Virginia Tech is a diverse community, and currently hosts over 3,500 international students, including 142 international students from the seven countries currently listed on the ban. In addition to these now at-risk students, VT is home to thousands of immigrants of various nationalities, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and observers of a beautiful array of faiths. These students contribute significantly to our community, and constantly enhance diversity and dialogue in the classroom, research labs, and social spaces. These students bring different perspectives and indispensable innovation to our institution. Restrictions on their mobility will directly diminish our scholarship, research, and community.
As Chief Strategist and member of the National Security Council, your actions challenging our nation’s fundamental freedoms of the press and religion are highly alarming, and are direct violations of the United States Constitution. Your connections with and endorsement from white supremacist groups should have barred you from your current position. We are deeply ashamed that someone so undeniably racist and bigoted can taint the prestigious name of Virginia Tech. We, proud Hokies of Virginia Tech, are outraged that your ties with our school pose a threat to our solidarity and tarnish the reputation of our beloved University.
Therefore, we, the undersigned Virginia Tech students, alumni, and faculty unapologetically reject your bigotry, intolerance, and dangerous actions. We have faced and overcome tragedy in the past and have prevailed. We will again prevail. We are Virginia Tech, and you do not represent us.
- Hokies Resist
*This letter reflects the personal views of its signatories only and has not been announced as the official opinion of Virginia Tech.