Open Letter To Our Community

This letter represents 40+ Penn State organizations within its 43 signees. Thanks to all who have chosen to add their name.


Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

To Our Community regarding the Leaked Students for Trump GroupMe messages;

On September 16th, the Twitter account @NoActOfOurs began releasing screenshots from a GroupMe chat from the Penn State political advocacy group, Bull Moose Party (more commonly known as Students for Trump). Many of these messages composed by our fellow Penn State students were horrifically derogatory, sexist, homophobic, racist, and violent.

We want to start by saying this is not an indictment against any political candidate, party, or its followers, but rather a word of concern for this kind of dangerous and violent discourse. As justice leaders at Penn State, we believe that this kind of communication is intolerable at a university that prides itself on diversity and inclusion of all people.

We are at a troubling political moment where unfiltered speech is being praised and celebrated, but these messages move far beyond that. In addition to demonstrating a lack of tolerance and respect for our diverse community, this chat demonstrates that we have hatred and anger quietly present just under the surface of our public lives. If these messages are indicative of even a portion of our student body, we have much work to do in the coming weeks and months to create a campus with more empathy, tolerance, and understanding of our differences.

We lament that our campus is a place in which some people verbally lash out against those who are different from themselves. We lament that political divide fuels anger and hatred that unfortunately are not limited to this recent incident.

While we acknowledge that within our community there are a variety of perspectives, targeted aggression toward any people must be condemned by our campus community.


We commit to work on campus and in this community to spread a message of love and respect for all human beings, and to point out injustice when we are bystanders. We call on all members of the Penn State University community to create spaces for healthier dialog in a time of political divide.




Ben Wideman, Campus Pastor of 3rd Way Collective

Carlos Wiley, Director Paul Robeson Cultural Center

Brian Davis, President of Social Justice Coalition

Sean Penfield, President of Atheist/Agnostic Association

Ren Ostrofsky, State College Food Not Bombs

Brandon Sullivan, Officer of 3rd Way Collective

Executive Board of College Democrats

Executive Board of Students for Hillary

Amanda Goldberg, President of 3rd Way Collective

Emily Strauss, PSU Jewish community

Margaret Brock, Member of College Democrats

Julian Bernhardt, Student

Blake Beidler, Student

Erin Sacksteder, Penn State/3rd Way Collective recent grad

David Falk, Chapter President of oSTEM & President of Receiving with Thanksgiving

Executive Board of Student Society for Indigenous Knowledge

Dora Yuju Huang, 3rd Way Collective & Taiwanese Student Association

Zico Khayat, Muslim Student Association, President/Founder Alpha Lambda Mu,

and VP of Social Justice Coalition

Diana Malcom, Campus Minister of Westminster Presbyterian Fellowship

Andrew Uhring, At-Large Representative to the University Park Undergraduate Association

Nathaniel Pentz, LGBTA Student Coalition & LGBTA Student Roundtable Representative UPUA

Zakariya Khayat, Muslim Justice Activist

Emily Seiger, President of PSU International Justice Mission

Jamie Butler, President of Penn State Hillel

Susan Prill, Co-Chair Central PA SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)

Allison Subasic, Director of LGBTQA Student Resource Center

Nathan Larkin, Executive Director of Fossil Free PSU

Michael Straw, President of Penn State College Republicans, UPUA At-Large Representative

Pavel Shusharin, President of Council of Commonwealth Student Government

Yiran Xia, President of Chinese Students and Scholars Association

Megan Zuccato, State of State Executive Director

Executive Board of Speech & Debate Society

Amber Morris, Public Relations Chair of Student Conduct Advisors

Karina Soto, Director of MLK Day of Service, Director for Sexual Violence Prevention and

Awareness Week,  UPUA MGC Representative

Brooke Jin, President of the Asian Pacific American Caucus, UPUA At-Large Representative

Zachary Longstreth, HUB-Robeson Center Advisory Board At-Large Representative

Jaime Kraky, Executive Director of the Student Programming Association

Veronica Hilferty, President of Off-Campus Student Union

Genevieve Logerie, President of the Penn State Student Black Caucus

Lydia Scheel, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Representative on UPUA

Executive Board of the Association of Residence Hall Students

Grace Morgan, Secretary for College Republicans

Tommy Brewton, Treasurer of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Anthony J. Zarzycki, former Secretary of Penn State Students for Sanders, Executive Director for College Progressives of Penn State