To the editor:
The faculty of the Department of History at Georgia Southern is dismayed that some students recently chose to express their intolerance towards Professor Jennine Capó Crucet and her ideas by burning her book on Wednesday, Oct 9. Book burning is at odds with our values of reasoned discourse, civil treatment of others, and openness towards ideas and experiences we might not share. Historically, book burning has been associated with intolerant and anti-democratic regimes. In the context of our diverse campus community, this symbolically potent action, combined with students' online harassment of Professor Capó Crucet, who is Latina, reads as an act of intimidation. It represents a rejection of our core values, which include respect for others, reasoned intellectual inquiry, and an appreciation for our shared bonds. We condemn this behavior in the strongest of terms.
As part of the department's response, faculty will hold a teach-in on "Book-Burning, Censorship & Free Speech in Historical Perspective" in IAB 1020 on the Statesboro campus at 5.30 on Tuesday, October 15. This represents an invitation to learn about why book burning has become such a recognizable symbol of intolerance around the world, and to foster a dialogue about what happened on our campus. We encourage all members of the Georgia Southern community to join us.
Professor and Chair, Department of History