Eleven student groups called on officials to “take the necessary steps” to keep white nationalist protesters off campus at Sunday’s “Unite the Right” rally in D.C.
In a statement posted on Facebook Saturday, the student organizations blasted participants of the rally – an iteration of last year’s violent demonstration in Charlottesville, Va. – who are set to march through Foggy Bottom ahead of the main protest in Lafayette Square Sunday afternoon. The groups – including the Graduate Student Union, Allied in Pride, the Feminist Student Union and the Progressive Student Union – urged the University to “defend our community against the mobilization of white supremacist violence.”
“The propagation of racist violence and ideology is unacceptable in this city,” the statement reads.
Ahead of the rally, University officials announced that they would heighten campus security and close main buildings this weekend. Officials also said they were working with the Metropolitan Police Department, which stationed several vans on campus Sunday morning.
In the statement, student groups pressed students, faculty, staff and alumni to “reject the hateful, violent ideology and actions of white supremacists that intend to descend on our community.”
“GWU as an institution and as a community should be committed to the safety and of those who live and work at this campus and should take the necessary steps to keep white supremacists off our campus without putting our community in danger,” the statement reads.
University President Thomas LeBlanc released a statement Friday condemning white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups participating in the rally, saying he was “heartened” to see students using the protest to speak out against intolerance. The College Republicans and College Democrats both released statements earlier this week denouncing the rally, and two students launched a fundraiser for an anti-hate group.