An open letter to state Representative Earl Ehrhart

Photo by John Nakano

We are tired.

We wish we could say that it was because of intramurals, school work or extracurricular activities.

Instead, we are tired after “losing” our library, which is not just a fancy new building, but a place that will provide Tech students with adequate study space

Instead, we are worried that the vibrant student life will be hurt by the defunding of precious programs that support and contribute our campus.

Instead, we are tired of you, State Representative Earl Day Ehrhart. We are tired of seeing articles about you threatening Georgia Tech again, and again. And if we have to witness one more student, colleague and friend shamed and stigmatized, where their label as a victim is a scarlet letter, it would just be tragic.

Sound familiar?

President Peterson has done a phenomenal job as the leader of this great institution. In his seven year tenure, he has empowered his administration to effectively address student mental health issues, facilitated a successful capital campaign that exceeded its $1.5 billion goal, and strived to cultivate a sacred trust between students, faculty and staff at Georgia Tech.

In any situation, it is important to know what success looks like. And as we understand the responsibility of the President of our Institute, he has exceeded our expectations in every way. Thus, we, the students of Georgia Tech, are dumbfounded. Your call for his resignation is nothing short of ridiculous, is little more than a cry for attention, and is quite possibly the worst course of action given the complexities of the situation at hand.

Yes, third graders do understand the right to due process; however, we’re sure first graders understand even more fundamental rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Victims of sexual assault, race-based discrimination, or any other travesty are in jeopardy of losing all three of these rights. President Peterson is not just freely expelling students, he is judiciously weighing the need to protect the importance of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while navigating complex Title IX laws that dictate processes surrounding sexual assault cases.

Sexual assault on college campuses is only recently been identified as a significant and systemic problem. For Georgia Tech, a globally facing institution working to change the face of societal problems through technology, continuing to shame and silence the victims is an aberration we cannot support.

How can we not find it troubling that you are calling for the resignation of an individual who has been working tirelessly to address policies that protect students. Perhaps you aren’t aware that ON THIS CAMPUS, sexual violence is something that an entire campus community cared enough about this issue to establish trainings, organizations and new policies. Perhaps you aren’t aware that in this state, addressing sexual violence is a SYSTEM-WIDE issue not just Georgia Tech.

We haven’t heard anything about funding from other schools get cut.

Reward our hope and trust in your abilities as a State Representative by marrying your zeal for due process with a recognition of the importance of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is incredibly ironic that you would call for the resignation of our beloved Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson, when if anything he is guilty of faithfully completing his duty as the president of Georgia Tech. President Peterson acts in the best interests of his students

Furthermore, we applaud Dr. Peterson, for also taking on your “elected responsibility” of protecting the 13,000 “tax-paying” Georgia residents who currently attend Georgia Tech.

We believe President Peterson is faithfully upholding his duty as an ombudsmen in the face of political pressures. If you aren’t going to work towards making legitimate progress, then sit down and watch us serve the world with the next generation of engineers, scientists AND politicians.