Penn Graduates Implore University President to Denounce Penn Alum Donald Trump

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By Andrew Stiles | 5:26 pm, October 4, 2016

University of Pennsylvania alumni and faculty are imploring U Penn president Amy Gutmann to “break her silence” and denounce prominent Penn alumnus Donald Trump, who often invokes his Ivy League alma mater as evidence that he is “a really smart person.”

Members of the Penn community have put their weight behind a petition calling on Gutmann to “disavow the intolerant views of alum Donald Trump.”

The petition, which was launched by 1991 graduate Nathaniel Popkin, refers to Donald Trump as a “dangerous con-man whose beliefs, words, and actions are inimical to the history and spirit of the University of Pennsylvania.”

The university’s “soaring international reputation,” the petition reads, is undermined by its association with Trump, who graduated from U Penn’s prestigious Wharton business school in 1968 after transferring from Fordham University.

The petition implores Gutmann, or the University trustees, to “make an official statement affirming the University’s values in contrast to those of Mr. Trump,” which are described as being antithetical to “openness, diversity, and the advancement of rights of women and minority groups.”

The group of Penn alumni, faculty, and students have even provided a pre-written statement they would like Gutmann to say in public:

The University of Pennsylvania values respect for all people in its campus community, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion, and believes, as the university’s founder Benjamin Franklin did, that self-governance necessitates honesty, modesty, and self-control. While Donald J. Trump is free to talk about his association with the University, the values he articulates in public discourse do not reflect those of Penn.

Only 411 people have signed the petition at the time of writing.

While Gutmann has been critical of Trump’s proposal to ban immigrants from Muslim countries, she and other university officials have declined to overtly denounce the Republican nominee.

University spokesman Ron Ozio recently told Inside Higher Ed: “The university doesn’t involve itself in partisan political races, so we would not have anything to offer on this.”