Dear Wells Students, Faculty and Staff:
I realize the semester is over and many have left campus already; but I cannot, however, ignore what happened this weekend. An 18-year-old man named Payton S. Gendron drove over 200 miles from Binghamton to Buffalo and murdered 10 people in a Tops grocery store, injuring several others. Given the details that have emerged about the suspect in the past 48 hours, it is clear that these innocent people were victims of a racially motivated hate crime.
As Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "This individual came here with the express purpose of taking as many Black lives as he could . . . many of us stood shoulder to shoulder [Saturday] in pain, like all of us are in pain, dealing with the aftermath of this horrible, racist, violent attack on our community." President Biden and Jill Biden will visit Buffalo on Tuesday to grieve alongside the community that experienced such a senseless and horrific event and will meet with many of the victims' families.
Wells College's mission, which prepares students to appreciate complexity and difference, strives to overcome just this sort of myopic indifference and hatred. In particular, I want to acknowledge the major impact that Saturday's incident has had on our Black and Brown community members and their families and friends. I cannot emphasize it enough: racism and notions of white supremacy have no place in our community, or anywhere else in a civilized society.
As a community of scholars – and human beings – we have an ongoing commitment to combatting hatred and racism wherever we may encounter it. I hope you will join me in doing whatever possible to uphold that commitment.