Woodson Convocation

Chancellor Randy Woodson condemns the events of Charlottesville during the Class of 2021 Convocation in Reynolds Coliseum Monday, August 14. Convocation is a tradition that celebrates the beginning of a career at NC State.

During his address at convocation on Monday, Chancellor Randy Woodson condemned the demonstrations by “white supremacists” that occurred over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia at the University of Virginia.

“The hate, bigotry and racism and those ideals espoused by the white supremacists that converged on Charlottesville this weekend is in no way consistent with the values of this institution, [NC State],” Woodson said.

Woodson also addressed in his remarks the reason such demonstrations are held on college campuses, saying that many colleges hold freedom of speech to be of great importance.

“I think one of the things that is near and dear to all of us in this room and certainly to the leaders of this university is free speech…,” Woodson said. “But unfortunately, often, freedom of expression results in the expression of ideas that are inconsistent with our values.”

The chancellor then urged students to speak up against the type of speech expressed in Charlottesville, and to initiate conversations in response.

“I just ask each and everyone of you, when you see that, when you hear that, when you get engaged in conversations that go that direction, stand up and be part of the Pack and talk about what we hold dear at this great university, which is diversity, inclusion and respect among others,” Woodson said.

Woodson said that, despite wanting to commit that such events would never happen at NC State, people with “extreme views” will continue to find university campuses to be places to express their views. He then encouraged students to address such views when they are expressed.

“I just ask all of you, when this occurs — and it will, in various forms — that we all continue to stand together and do everything we can to make this an environment and community that we all want to be a part of,” Woodson said.

These comments follow a statement released by Woodson on Sunday that condemned the events in Charlottesville.

“NC State stands in solidarity with our colleagues at UVA and citizens of Charlottesville against acts of hate, bigotry and racism,” Woodson said in the statement on Sunday.

Woodson continued his remarks on Sunday by addressing first year students about the experience of joining NC State as a newcomer, adding that “we are proud that you’re here.”