Administrators at the University of California - Los Angeles moved quickly on Monday to take down flyers posted across campus recruiting for a “UCLA white students group.”
The top of the eight and a half by eleven-inch flyer included the logo for the white nationalist “alt right” movement.
“Recent rhetoric and ongoing riots have highlighted a danger to white Americans,” the flyer said, urging an agenda to promote the interests of white Americans.
“This is a group for white voices to be heard, and we ask that others respect that.”
It was unclear how many flyers were posted and whether they were posted by students.
“It’s just a very tense time and to see flyer like this in the midst of all this just escalates the tensions,” said sociology and African-American studies professor Darnell Hunt.
Freedom of speech is important, he said, in order for students to hear differing points of view. But the flyers’ racist rhetoric destabilizes students’ peace of mind.
But that’s not the reason the university removed the flyers.
University officials said the flyers were posted without permission by people outside the university, so they were taken down.
“The website address and the Twitter account listed on the flyers did not appear to contain content regarding UCLA, target UCLA students or refer to higher education,” said UCLA spokesman Tod Tamberg by email.
KPCC sent repeated messages to the e-mail address listed on the flier and received no response.
The university did not issue a campus-wide message about the flyers.
Some students believe the absence of a strong UCLA administration statement against the flyer is sending the message that the flyer’s message is OK.
“When our public institutions ignore this kind of racist rhetoric and say there are other things that are more important, that this is not serious enough, then individuals fall next,” said UCLA graduate student Wisam Alshaibi.
UCLA’s Tamberg disagreed. He said a statement – sent out days be on the day after the election – by U.C. President Janet Napolitano and co-signed by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and the heads of the other campuses denounces hateful viewpoints while respecting free speech rights.
“Diversity is central to our mission. We remain absolutely committed to supporting all members of our community and adhering to UC’s Principles Against Intolerance," the statement said. "As the principles make clear, the university 'strives to foster an environment in which all are included' and 'all are given an equal opportunity to learn and explore.'"
This flyer is the latest incident of racist rhetoric at or having to do with UCLA. Last year university officials moved to shut down a “UCLA White Student Union” Facebook group.
Some students feel each one of these incidents should be vigorously protested by students and the university.
“But the fear is that instead of being vigilant we’re just going to let it happen, and one day we’re going to wake up and we’re going to wake up in a country that’s completely different," Alshaibi said. "This is exactly what happened in Germany in 1930."