University of Wisconsin–Madison

Response to March 2nd Statement

We understand that the statement we have released has garnered traction, and our position has been jarring for some members of the secular community. We appreciate the discussion that has taken place and encourage critical discussions of the secular community to continue. However, as a group we would like to reiterate and clarify our views. Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics (AHA) does not represent the entire freethinking movement; we are a student-run, UW-Madison campus group that is founded on values of inclusion and acceptance, and wish to be at the forefront of resolving issues that hinder the secular movement. We have a zero tolerance policy for racism. AHA has been working continuously to serve marginalized communities that have been historically underrepresented in the secular movement, and we find it valuable and necessary to address racism in the community when we see it. Part of our Mission Statement is that we are here to to support all students, which includes students of all races. The view that some races are inherently more intelligent than others actively excludes certain groups of students and is therefore counter to our Mission Statement. As such, in accordance with our Mission Statement and core values, we announced a “disownment” of people who promote these viewpoints to distance AHA from these ideas. Sam Harris’ actions of bringing Charles Murray, a figure that has been historically tied with the racial science movement, onto his podcast is abhorrent. Providing a platform for an universally discredited concept, such as scientific racism, is unproductive and hinders the values that we have for our particular platform. Additionally, allowing Murray to discuss his racist views with little push-back and criticism is unacceptable. We ask that members of the secular community that do not agree with the tone of our statement to understand AHA’s stance on inclusivity, and invite you to join us in battling racism and making the community stronger.

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