Collective Leadership: Open letter to #Trump from alma mater Wharton students and faculty

Trump’s alma mater has officially taken a stand against Trump’s exploitation and, in their mind, mis-representation, of their business pedigree. In an open letter, increasing numbers of students, alums and faculty daily sign to raise a collective leadership voice, and criticize his positions and the intolerance they spread.

Will it change the minds of all his followers? That’s not the point of this letter. These are business leaders, students and teachers simply standing up to call Trump’s bluff, and to challenge his self-representation as a business leader shaped by the Wharton vision. Not our vision, they say. Not even close!Huntsman_Hall_at_the_University_of_Pennsylvania

By gathering together to protest his use of their brand, they challenge his brand, and inspire others to stand and name the truth: that he is an outlier selling fear, not just a political outsider, that he is not an effective leader, based on Wharton’s idea of excellence in leadership, which is straightforward and business-related, something someone like Trump should embrace as plain sound business:

“We strive to develop world citizens – global leaders with an understanding of how they and their organizations can make a positive difference for investors, customers, employees and communities regardless of national setting, but with a deep appreciation for the distinctive cultures at play.”

Every day, hundreds more sign this letter, “You Do Not Represent Us: An Open Letter to Donald Trump.”

Dear Mr. Trump:

At the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, students are taught to represent the highest levels of respect and integrity. We are taught to embrace humility and diversity. We can understand why, in seeking America’s highest office, you have used your degree from Wharton to promote and lend legitimacy to your candidacy.

As a candidate for President, and now as the presumptive GOP nominee, you have been afforded a transformative opportunity to be a leader on national and international stages and to make the Wharton community even prouder of our school and values.

However, we have been deeply disappointed in your candidacy.

We, proud students, alumni, and faculty of Wharton, are outraged that an affiliation with our school is being used to legitimize prejudice and intolerance. Although we do not aim to make any political endorsements with this letter, we do express our unequivocal stance against the xenophobia, sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry that you have actively and implicitly endorsed in your campaign.

The Wharton community is a diverse community. We are immigrants and children of immigrants, people of color, Muslims, Jews, women, people living with or caring for those with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community. In other words, we represent the groups that you have repeatedly denigrated, as well as their steadfast friends, family, and allies.

We recognize that we are fortunate to be educated at Wharton, and we are committed to using our opportunity to make America and the world a better place — for everyone. We are dedicated to promoting inclusion not only because diversity and tolerance have been repeatedly proven to be valuable assets to any organization’s performance, but also because we believe in mutual respect and human dignity as deeply held values. Your insistence on exclusion and scapegoating would be bad for business and bad for the American economy. An intolerant America is a less productive, less innovative, and less competitive America.

We, the undersigned Wharton students, alumni, and faculty, unequivocally reject the use of your education at Wharton as a platform for promoting prejudice and intolerance. Your discriminatory statements are incompatible with the values that we are taught and we teach at Wharton, and we express our unwavering commitment to an open and inclusive American society.

Let this be a wake-up call for those of us cynical about collective leadership, and the influence of academia. We cannot change the world unless we stand together, in the coalitions we’re part of, and speak up. Aligned in this way, we embody the best of American leadership, giving voice to the real “silent majority.”

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