Arizona State University president Michael Crow said Thursday that the university’s decision to allow sexual assault survivors to attend classes should be respected and that the school’s decision not to allow survivors to speak at commencement was “wrong.”
Crow, a former Navy SEAL and Navy Reserve commander, said the university had received thousands of calls from students and alumni who have expressed their support for survivors of sexual assault who were seeking to attend the school in the wake of the announcement that the Board of Trustees had decided not to grant them the right to speak.
The decision comes a day after President Donald Trump said on Twitter that the decision “will be overturned,” a claim Crow said he could not support.
“The president of Arizona State is wrong.
We will not be silenced,” Crow said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
“We will not allow the president of the United States to dictate the tone of our university and our country.”
Craw said he was speaking out because he believes the university “needs to move forward on this issue,” adding that he was concerned that the president’s comments “will not be received well by the students, faculty, staff and alumni of ASU.”
He continued: “As leaders of the nation’s largest public university, we should not have a president who is willing to threaten the safety and security of our students and faculty.
We must continue to stand together against these kinds of assaults.”
Cox College in Florida released a statement that read: “Cox and our community are heartbroken by the news that the University of Phoenix will not honor the wishes of a number of survivors of Sexual Assault who have chosen to speak on campus.
The decision is disappointing and does not reflect the values of Cox or our community.
Cox will continue to fight for justice for these survivors and our entire community.”
The school’s statement also said that the campus was “committed to providing a safe environment for our students.”
The university’s announcement follows an outcry earlier this week after it announced that its Board of Governors had not granted its students the right of first refusal to attend commencement ceremonies.
The board, which includes faculty, administrators and students, decided to not honor survivors’ requests to speak after the Board approved the proposal in April, saying the process was “not consistent with the values and policies of the university.”
“It is with a heavy heart that we confirm the Board has voted to not recognize or recognize the survivors’ request for the right as a first-class citizen to speak during commencement,” the statement read.
“We have worked tirelessly to provide a safe space for our faculty and staff and to provide the best learning environment for all of our graduates and students.
We are proud of the contributions we have made to the success of Cox College.”
The decision was also condemned by the American Association of University Professors, which said the decision was a “significant setback” for the nation.
“There are no excuses for the Board’s decision,” said AARU president Robert B. Sternberg.
“While we respect the Board, it cannot be the end of the road for Cox and its students.
The institution’s work is not done.
We stand with the survivors, as we have always done.”
The American Association for University Professions (AUP) issued a statement calling on the school to reverse its decision.
“At the end, it’s not enough to allow the survivors to have a voice at graduation, and this is a critical step toward moving forward with our goals to make sure that every student, faculty and administrator has access to the best education possible, and that they have a safe and welcoming environment to learn,” the AUP said.
“As AUP members, we’re committed to working together to ensure that this happens, and we hope that we’ll be able to work with our fellow members of the college community to move our nation in the right direction.”
“The AUP strongly believes that every university should provide students with the opportunity to speak freely, to participate in the political process and to be heard at the highest levels,” the group added.
“That’s why we’ve worked for years to ensure the right for all survivors to participate at graduation ceremonies, and for AUP to be part of that process.”AUC President Dr. Michael K. Miller said he is committed to making the college “a place where survivors of rape and sexual assault can thrive, and to continue to empower them to make a difference in our communities.”
“Our campus is a place of safety and openness and openness in learning, and the decision to honor the survivors is an important first step to that,” Miller said in the statement.