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President Rahmat Shoureshi: 'Senseless acts of violence visited upon innocent people and communities are constant reminders of the importance of standing up for the rights of people and groups who call this nation their home.'

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Portland State president Rahmat Shoureshi during a campus tour in 2017.Portland State University President Rahmat Shoureshi released a statement Monday tying the last week of hateful violence to the spectre of losing federal protections for transgender and nonbinary students.

"These sobering events of the past few days serve as a reminder of the importance for PSU to publicly and unequivocally reaffirm the values and beliefs we hold as an institution committed to all our students and the families, faiths, friends and communities that are represented in their lives," Shoureshi said.

Shoureshi specifically named Saturday's synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, Wednesday's shooting of two black people at a Kentucky grocery store and 14 pipe bombs sent to political leaders and news organizations.

"Let us be clear: We condemn acts of hatred and violence such as we have seen this past week," Shoureshi said. "Senseless acts of violence visited upon innocent people and communities are constant reminders of the importance of standing up for the rights of people and groups who call this nation their home. Many of us are feeling the impact of these events, especially for those members of the PSU community who feel that they, too, are targeted by this hatred."

The university president also condemned the draft proposal — reported Oct. 21 by The New York Times — by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to define gender and sex by a person's sex organs at birth.

"We at PSU oppose this proposed definition because it targets transgender and non-binary people by denying them recognition and civil rights protections," Shoureshi said.

Shoureshi added that inclusivity was a "bedrock" principle at the urban university and that hatred based on race, religion or gender identity had "no place at PSU."


Shasta Kearns Moore
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