Dated: Jan. 26, 2018.
We, the undersigned, as alumni of Mercer University, would like to express our sincere dismay at the selection of Jay Sekulow as the speaker for Mercer’s 2018 Founders’ Day. While we recognize and champion freedom of speech in campus settings,
we feel strongly that Mr. Sekulow’s long and well-documented history of homophobia, racism, nationalism and anti-Muslim bigotry throughout his career make him wholly unacceptable to speak at the University’s flagship event intended to honor
its heritage as an institution that upholds the dignity of all students. Mercer emphasizes as part of its required first-year curriculum the imperative of working to build Dr. King’s ‘beloved community.’ Mr. Sekulow’s divisive and dehumanizing
public stances, however, do more to tear down the beloved community than to foster it.
Mercer has a long and distinguished tradition of promoting human dignity, fostering inclusion, and celebrating differences. Yet, Mr. Sekulow’s career spent advocating for the imprisonment of LGBTQ citizens and religious tests for immigration
stands in direct opposition to those values. To invite Sekulow to campus for Founders’ Day does not promote the free exchange of ideas. It promotes the scapegoating of groups of people, borne out of hatred and prejudice.
We would welcome Mr. Sekulow to speak at an event held by a student organization –– or even as part of a special lecture series that students could voluntarily choose to attend. But to invite him to stand at the lectern of Founders’ Day risks
enshrining bigotry and divisiveness as a lasting part of the Mercer heritage.
Some have argued that uninviting Mr. Sekulow from Founders’ Day contradicts core Mercer values – celebrating both our commonalities and our differences. While celebration of our diversity is no doubt a core Mercer value, Mr. Sekulow, unfortunately,
does not share this sentiment nor celebrate the differences of people unlike himself. He has persistently called for unfair, and at times inhumane, treatment of minorities. Such views are as far from core Mercer values as one might hold.
We, therefore, call for a swift replacement of Mr. Sekulow as the speaker to honor the dignity and humanity of all students, alumni, faculty and members of the Mercer community. We do this in unity, with full moral resolve and full clarity of
vision, so that the Mercer we know and love remains a Mercer that is accepting of all people.
With collegiate pride,