I am saddened to hear that my hometown has attracted national attention for hosting a rally for the re-election of the president and vice-president.

As a former student at East Carolina University, I’m shocked that the university’s chancellor and board of trustees would sanction an event like this. The university’s mission statement includes the goal to “… prepare students with the knowledge, skills and values to succeed in a global multicultural society.” How does hosting an unabashed racist, misogynist, liar, authoritarian populist, science-denier, white supremacist demagogue align with the mission statement and values of this institution? Who would consider sending their children to a school that sanctions hate?

I hear that ECU claims it is not hosting this event or “serving as a sponsor.” Who knew? Yet, someone in the university approved of this opportunity, hired staff to open the doors of the coliseum and provide security, and will benefit from the rent money. Where will this tarnished money end up in the coffers of ECU? Will it serve to “develop tomorrow’s leaders and inspire positive change”?

I believe in the freedom of speech, but the First Amendment does not grant the freedom of the president to spout hatred, defame entire ethnic groups, and tacitly incite the use of violence. A true leader of the free world would strive to bring people together to work for common goals, and not feed the seeds of polarization. This president is all about protecting whiteness than about protecting America and all that our country stands for.

Greenville was once a place I was proud to call home. Not any longer.

Sue Trevathan

Vashon, Washington