Online faculty petitions condemning racially charged fliers erased by unknown individual

Sunday, October 2, 2016 - 11:59pm

Two Google documents, one containing a faculty petition condemning racially charged fliers that were discovered on the University of Michigan campus last week and another expressing solidarity with Black students, were both erased Sunday by an anonymous individual and replaced with the phrase, “All of the Communists Will Hang on the Day of the Rope.”

The quote comes from “The Turner Diaries,” a political fiction novel that features a race war.

LSA Dean Andrew Martin sent out the faculty petition, entitled “Putting the Racist Fliers at U-M in Context,” to LSA faculty in a college-wide email Friday at noon. Another petition included in the email was “Statement Against Racism and In Support of African American students who were targeted by the racist flyers.” Before the faculty petition was erased, it had gathered more than 330 signatures. The student petition had gathered 384.

Angela Dillard, the associate dean for undergraduate education, wrote in an email interview with The Michigan Daily that the documents were authored by members of the LSA faculty and quickly spread from staff and faculty to the wider University community.

“Obviously (I am) both saddened and outraged by this hack, and more dedicated than ever to the principles that motivated the authors to pen the statements and so many colleagues on campus to sign and endorse them,” Dillard wrote.

[twitter:https://twitter.com/AustinMcCoy3/status/782733245431504896]

Dillard also specified that the first petition was meant to demonstrate the faculty’s need to combat the recent racially charged events on and around campus with knowledge, which was done by mobilizing the expertise of faculty members.

[twitter:https://twitter.com/adillard4/status/782685709375242240]

In the email sent out by Martin, he wrote that his communications came at the end of a difficult week for LSA and urged his colleges to sign both petitions, according to a copy obtained by The Michigan Daily.

“I want to thank several colleagues in DAAS for consulting with me and my leadership team Tuesday morning,” Martin wrote. “They offered advice for how best to frame an initial College response and what we might do, going forward, to continue to engage with students, faculty, and staff on these important issues.”

Dillard said the petitions have been restored to their previous text and will continue to collect signatures until midnight Sunday, after which they plan to have both documents published and publicly circulated.

“We want to emphasize the urgency of the situation as African Americans are regularly killed by police violence,” the Faculty and Staff Statement Against Racism petition reads. “We call on the University administration to join with us to find more effective means to help ensure that the objectives of establishing an inclusive, diverse, compassionate and safe campus are realized.”