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Robertson School statement in support of free speech, a free press and the right to peacefully assemble

Jun 2, 2020

Posted in: News


In the wake of the events over the past week that continue to unfold across the U.S., we, the faculty and staff of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University, would like to express our support for the protections granted under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, including the freedom of speech, of the press, and the right to peacefully assemble.

As an institution of higher education dedicated to teaching future journalists and communication professionals, we are appalled by the use of force on members of the media, some of whom have been violently accosted, arrested or detained while doing their job reporting the news. Attacking journalists is an assault on our democracy and we strongly believe that a civil society can only stand with a protected, free press.

With an increasing number of headlines and demonstrations related to horrific violence against African Americans, including the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we urge our students, our alumni and our community to exercise their civil rights in a safe manner. We also urge law enforcement to exercise restraint and good sense in its interactions with members of the news media or anyone peaceably documenting these protests. Further, we continue our dedication at the Robertson School to be part of the solution by fostering a safe, equal and inclusive community that takes pride in its diversity and that ensures that black lives matter.