Three types of posters with racially charged messages were found on the University of Michigan’s campus in Mason and Haven Halls Monday morning.
One of the posters listed “reasons why women shouldn’t date Black men”. The other called for what it described as “Euro-Americans” to stop “denying your heritage…be white,” according to pictures tweeted out by the Black Student Union. The third poster includes an explanation of “race differences in intelligence” and evidence of a “genetic gap."
Students also tweeted throughout the morning condemning the messages and calling for action from administration.
University President Mark Schlissel, Provost Martha Pollack, Vice President for Student Life Royster Harper and Vice Provost for Equity, Inclusion and Academic Affairs Rob Sellers released a statement Monday afternoon denouncing the messages.
“We stand together against hate and we all must work together toward deeper understanding,” the statement read. “Messages of racial, ethnic or religious discrimination have no place at the University of Michigan. Targeted attacks against groups of people serve only to tear apart our university community.”
This incident comes just a week before the University is slated to launch its new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan, which aims to outline steps toward creating a more diverse and inclusive campus.
“Dedication to academic excellence for the public good is inseparable from our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Schlissel said last year at the the second of several summits kicking off the planning process. “We cannot be excellent without being diverse in the broadest sense of that word.”
LSA Dean Andrew Martin also released a statement in solidarity with the students impacted by the charged flyers, and promised to organize further conversations and support avenues in the coming weeks.
“These posters advocating white supremacy strike at the very heart and soul of the College,” Martin said. “Their presence marred our physical spaces—in Haven and Mason halls—where we hold our classes and where our faculty and staff work, and are an assault on everything we believe in as a liberal arts college and as a diverse community.
The University administration’s statement Monday noted that while the University defends the right to free speech on campus, targeted attacks grounded on a belief or characteristic are are contrary to the University’s values of respect, equality, and civility and not protected.
“We also have a responsibility to create a learning environment that is free of harassment,” the statement said. “These are core values and guiding principles that will help us as we strive to live up to our highest ideals. In this time of heightened political strife, we believe these values take on even more importance as people and beliefs are targets of divisive rhetoric. But amidst these challenging times, our core values can help ground our community.”
The statement also urged students to report incidents of this nature to the University’s Bias Response Team at 734-615-BIAS (2427).
The incident is the second time a type of posting on campus has stirred controversy this calendar year. In March, chalkings were found on the Diag reading ‘Stop Islam’, among other messages, also prompting student outcry. Students removed the chalkings themselves from the Diag, as University police were called but would not remove the chalkings because they did not constitute a criminal act. Schlissel also released a statement condemning that incident.
This is a developing story. Check back at michigandaily.com for more updates.