Suffolk County Community College students and faculty have condemned a hateful speech delivered on campus by President Donald Trump that demonized immigrants and traduced the values of a school dedicated to helping a diverse student body transform their lives.
At a community protest outside the speech venue today, attended by hundreds of students and faculty, participants highlighted the contradiction between the values of a school rooted in unity and opportunity for all, and Trump’s message of division and distrust.
The Faculty Association of Suffolk Community College joined the Long Island Progressive Coalition, the Long Island Federation of Labor, New York State United Teachers, United University Professions, the Professional Staff Congress and the community, to stand united in solidarity against Trump.
FASCC President Kevin Peterman said: “This speech is a slap in the face to our diverse student body, who come to Suffolk to transform their lives. Rather than speaking for the working people he pretends to represent, President Trump instead decided to further an offensive and divisive political agenda. The students at Suffolk, many who work two part-time jobs and have a full load of classes, and the professors who teach them, are raising their voices to say that Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric has no place on campus.”
NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said: “We condemn the divisive and hate-filled rhetoric that so unfairly targets the immigrant community and causes devastating harm to our students, who deserve to live in a world free of bigotry and oppression.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “I was privileged to be honored by Suffolk Community College this year, and I know firsthand that the president’s noxious speech stands in direct contradiction to the values that Suffolk Community College students and faculty hold dear—that no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you deserve the opportunity to learn and succeed. And when our students succeed, America succeeds.
“Rather than standing up for working people, Donald Trump used a college campus today to peddle the worse kind of divisive dog-whistle politics to further divide an already divided nation. Long before Trump became president, many of us worked on successfully attacking gang violence—and it doesn’t take a wall and it doesn’t take defaming immigrants. And rather than investing in our students’ future, the Trump administration has slashed education funding to the bone. The AFT stands united with the Suffolk students and greater community to fight for our values of justice and opportunity, to fight for our students’ safety and well-being, and to confront the hateful rhetoric we heard today.”