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Sign On Letter to President Morehead

March 18, 2024

Office of the President
220 South Jackson Street
Athens, Georgia 30602-5000

Dear President Morehead,

We, the undersigned, are writing to urge you to show your support for your students during this time of rampant hate and division. After the news of Laken Riley’s tragic death, the community in Athens has been plagued by hateful rhetoric and fear mongering. Your students continue to seek your support as they face threats on social media that call for the “hunting” of immigrants and feel so unsafe on the University of Georgia’s Athens campus that some Latino students are even afraid to walk to class alone. While we recognize that there may be differing perspectives and opinions regarding immigration and immigration reform, there is no debate around keeping students and young people safe. The community of Latino students, faculty, and staff at the University of Georgia need to know that you take their safety and well-being seriously, denounce harassment and hate speech directed towards Latinos, and will bring accountability to anyone seeking to intimidate or harm Latinos on any of the University’s campuses.

We cannot emphasize enough how tragic Laken Riley’s death is; that her life was cut so short is devastating and indicative of the widespread problem of violence against women. Unfortunately, the narrative has shifted away from the issue of women’s safety and is instead being used as a cudgel against Latinos and immigrants in our communities. It is time that your administration acknowledges this reality, shines a light on the various threats that women of all backgrounds face, and condemns any and all harassment of Latinos.
In the University of Georgia’s mission statement, it is mentioned that the University is “committed” to fostering a learning environment that is “dedicated to serving a diverse and well-prepared student body”; the increase in intolerance and hostility towards immigrants and Latinos violates this “core characteristic.” We encourage you to firmly and publicly oppose hate speech and violence aimed at immigrants and Latinos with clarity and in the strongest manner possible.
The leaders of several Latino/Hispanic organizations on campus have spoken out against the tense and even hostile environment. However, it shouldn’t be left to student-run organizations to address and improve the climate on the University’s Athens campus. Students should be focused on studying, going to class, and preparing for future careers as they seek to make a difference in the world. Instead, right now, many Latino students on your campus in Athens fear for their safety. They need to know that they are not alone.
As University President, you have an obligation to support all of your students, including your Latino students. According to UGA’s 2022 Fact Book, there are nearly 2,800 Hispanic students enrolled and we believe that it is your responsibility to ensure that this important segment of the University’s community is heard, respected, and protected from harm.
In your 2024 State of the University Address, you quoted Abraham Lincoln to explain why the people of Georgia are right to “invest their ‘hopes, their support, and their confidence’ in the University of Georgia”. We now direct you to another quote of the former president: “I shall, when the time comes, try to do right, in view of all the lights then before me.” We strongly believe now is the time to “do right” by the Latinos on your campuses whose confidence and trust is waning as they face a profound level of harassment and hate. Indeed, now is the time to show your students the meaning of leadership, your ability to navigate these challenging times with integrity and compassion, and that you remain committed to the safety of everyone in the UGA community and the values that define the University of Georgia.
With this in mind, we hope that you will respond to us within one week.


Alejandro Coss
President & CEO, Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia

Amilcar Valencia
Executive Director, El Refugio

Antonio Flores
President & CEO, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)

Betina Kaplan
Co-Director, U-Lead Athens

Candy Isabel
Founder and CEO, Khamai Strategies

Daniela Rodriguez
Executive Director, Migrant Equity Southeast

David Araya
CEO & Co-Founder, Hispanic Organization Promoting Education, Inc. (HoPe)

Fatima Santillan
Vice President, University of North Georgia Latino Student Association

Gilda (Gigi) Pedraza
Executive Director, LCF Georgia

Jerry Gonzalez
CEO, GALEO & GALEO Impact Fund

Jessica Nunan
Co-CEO, Caminar Latino- Latinos United for Peace and Equity

Jose Marquez
CEO, Techlatino- Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association

Joshua M Perea
Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science

Julio Carrillo
CEO, HOPE Atlanta

Laura Murvartian
Founder & CEO, Arte GA

Luis Zaldivar
State Director, CASA

Maritza Morelli
Executive Director of Los Niños Primero

Nury Castillo Crawford
Founder, The Little Book Spot

Omar Rodriguez
President, Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) at Kennesaw State University

Patty Pinckney
Director, Latino Donor Collaborative

Rebeca Gibbons
Co-Founder & CEO, Unidos Latino Association

Rigo Rivera
Principal CEO, Consejos Rivera Consulting LLC.

Rosario Palacios
Co-Founder, GA Familias Unidas

S. America Gruner

Sheila Cruz-Morales
Executive Director, College Access for Non-Citizens

Yadira Sanchez
Executive Director, Poder Latinx

Yvette Moise
President & Founder, Georgia Latino Film Alliance


Águeda Varela, Lawrenceville GA
Ahvia Marable*, Atlanta, GA
Alani Rojas, Woodstock, GA
Alba Villarreal, Lilburn, GA
Alberto Reyes, Dalton, GA
Alexandra Campos Castillo*, Atlanta, GA
Alondra Lopez* , Athens Ga
Ana Valdez, Beverly Hills, Ca
Ana Valencia, Marietta, GA
Ana Villegas, Atlanta, GA
Anthony Mendoza, Gainesville, GA
Anthony Rodriguez, Duluth, GA
Ashley Espinoza Sanchez, Atlanta, GA
Belisa Urbina, Kennesaw, GA
Benjamin Koschella*, Lilburn, GA
Betina Kaplan, Athens, GA
Bill Vega, Sylvester, GA
Brenda Gutierrez, Forest Park, GA
Carlos F. Orta, Washington, D.C.
Carlos Sanchez, Johns Creek, GA
Caroline Hare, Athens, GA
Chris Lugo, Atlanta, GA
Christian Lim*, Chicago, IL
Clara Puerta-Navarro, Norcross, Ga
Claudia Eva Colichon, Brookhaven, Ga
Cristian Estrada, Tifton, GA
Cynthia Padilla Pearson, Fayetteville, GA
Damaris Gonzalez, Conyers, GA
Danielle Da Silva, Athens, GA
Danna Rodas, Washington, DC
Darrick Alvarez , Atlanta, GA
David Schaefer*, Marietta, GA
Deborah Velazquez*, Roswell, GA
Devin Pandy, Gainesville, GA
Diana Calderon, Athens, GA
Edith Marrero, Snellville, GA
Elisa Covarrubias, Hapeville, GA
Elizabeth Lora, Cumming, GA
Elizabeth Silva, Lawrenceville, GA
Ericka Macias-Esposito, Chamblee, GA
Felipe Ramirez , Alpharetta GA
Frank Fernandez, Atlanta, GA
Genny C, Atlanta, Ga
Itzel Franco, Athens, GA
J. Antonio DelCampo, Atlanta, GA
Jacqueline Garcia-Torres, Cumming, GA
Jaden Maddox , Athens, GA
Jasmin Magaña Marquez, Atlanta, GA
Jazmine Medrano*, Atlanta, GA
Jeffrey Ellman, Atlanta, GA
Jessica Nunan, Atlanta, GA
JoBeth Allen, Athens, GA
Jocelyn Crumpton*, Athens, GA
Joel Alvarado, Atlanta, GA
Jonathan Martinez Florencio, Moultrie, GA
Juan Mejia, Atlanta, GA
Juan Mencias*, Atlanta, GA
Katherine Caballero, Athens, GA
Katie Moebes, Peachtree Corners, GA
Kelly Medina, Athens, GA
Kiaya Pierson, Atlanta, GA
Kyle Gomez-Leineweber, Flowery Branch, GA
Litzi Leon, Conyers, GA
Lorena Mora, Duluth, GA
Maria Fernanda Vizcaino Garcia, Ellenwood, GA
Mayte Pexk, Stone Mountain, GA
Michelle Verges Schreiner*, Atlanta, GA
Mirtha VacaWilkens, Smyrna, GA
Mónica Pirela Warner, Robins, GA
Natalie D. Hernandez-Green, Atlanta, GA
Omar Esposito, Chamblee, GA
Paul McCrary, Athens, GA
Rafael Aragón, Atlanta, GA
Rep. Phil Olaleye, Atlanta, GA
Roxana Chicas, Marietta, GA
S. America Gruner, Dalton, GA
Santiago Marquez, Grayson, GA
Sharon Gruner, Flinstone, GA
Shirley Anne Smith, Mableton, GA
Sofia Velasquez, Woodstock, Ga
Staci Fox*
Stephany Gaona-Perez, Athens, GA
Victor Manuel Pena Leon, Duluth, GA
Wilheem Perez*, Kennesaw, GA

*Indicates UGA Alumni

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