Macalester College President condemns Pittsburgh attack, criticizes Trump

The president of Macalester College is sharing strong words following the deadly attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue over the weekend.

In a letter sent Monday, Macalester President Brian Rosenberg wrote to his community that he is “very, very angry.” Rosenberg took issue with the common refrain of “this is not who we are” being used in the aftermath of the hate-filled bloodshed at Tree of Life.

"So long as we refuse to enact sensible gun laws; so long as we pretend that anti-Semitism and racism and xenophobia are aberrant and uncommon; so long as we elect leaders who enflame the worst aspects of human nature for political gain; so long as we do these things, this is indeed who we are,” Rosenberg wrote.

Rosenberg also criticized President Donald Trump, saying his actions may have emboldened extremists.

"The President of the United States initially expressed surprise that such things could still happen today," he wrote. "This reveals a profound ignorance of history, of the sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States and around the world, and of his own role in encouraging, whether tacitly or openly, anti-Semites. When white supremacists who march in Charlottesville chanting 'Jews will not replace us' are not explicitly condemned by the ostensible leader of our country as anti-Semites, that empowers and encourages them."

This semester, Macalester College has had three reports of swastikas being found in campus buildings, including on a comment card in Turck Residence Hall over the weekend. The college also turned over another incident of what it described as hate-oriented graffiti to police this semester. 

“I’m fairly disgusted by the actions of my classmates took in drawing swastikas,” said Joe Patrick, a Macalester freshman. “And it’s more clear, it wasn’t just some sort of joke. And I think it’s something we need to take more seriously.”

Students at Macalester College say they have had enough of the hate and the anti-Semitism.

“It’s important to condemn hate in all its forms,” said Missy Stevanovic, a Macalester senior. “It’s an impurity in any good society. And it’s an impurity in America.”

“I have so many Jewish friends and grown up in a really Jewish community - does this hurt? It really hurts,” said Maggie Bunker, a Macalester freshman.