Update at 6:35 p.m. The Kansas State University College Republicans released a statement calling for a step away from partisan politics and instead advocating for united opposition to “the posting of racist, white nationalist messages across campus.”
“White nationalism is a rejection of these traits and consequently also rejects everything that makes this institution so special to us,” the statement reads. “Therefore, we strongly condemn all efforts to promote racist propaganda, especially along the thoroughfares of our school.
“On a related note, we staunchly support the constitutional protections for free expression outlined in the First Amendment,” the statement continued. “We realize that some examples of free expression are upsetting, untrue, and even hateful, as the posters on campus were. It is indeed a privilege to live in a society with so few restrictions on speech. However, no one has the privilege of being shielded from harsh criticism and swift public condemnation.”
Update at 5:35 p.m. Savannah Rattanavong, president of The Asian American Student Union; Darrell Reese Jr., president of The Black Student Union; and Paloma Roman, president of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization issued a joint statement citing past examples of racism — such as last year’s racist Snapchat incident — as reasons why the university must move toward greater inclusion and diversity.
“We have advocated for a Multicultural Student Center for some time now and this act reinforces the need for that safe environment more than ever,” the statement read. “Having a champion like a Chief Diversity Officer and the Associate Vice President for Student Life-Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs would help uplift the voices of multicultural students, faculty, and staff. Even with the current structural changes to the Office of Diversity, we would like to recommend the need for more staffing and programming in order to educate our K-State family.”
White nationalist posters spark campus controversy
Additionally, the statement encouraged students to attend a diversity rally to be held Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in Bosco Student Plaza.
Several campus organizations have released statements responding to posters promoting white supremacist ideology that were put up in conspicuous locations across campus Wednesday morning.
In an email statement, the university said that the posters “do not reflect the values of Kansas State University and are unwelcome.”
This is the statement I received from @KState regarding this morning's posters promoting white nationalism. pic.twitter.com/D29IBvmzRr
— Rafael Garcia (@_chicharogarcia) September 13, 2017
Student body president Jack Ayres and vice president Olivia Baalman released a statement on social media stating that they were “appalled by the hate contained in the posters.”
Please see the statement below regarding the hateful posters found on campus this morning. pic.twitter.com/xb9PEJPnYi
— K-State SBP & VP (@KStateSBP_SBVP) September 13, 2017
The statement addressed the individual or individuals who put up the posters, stating that while they are “entitled to [their] own opinion,” Ayres and Baalman strongly disagree with it and challenge the individual or individuals to uphold the university’s Principles of Community.
Ayres and Baalman asked the university community to stand against the posters and wear purple on Thursday “to show [K-State’s] commitment to an inclusive campus.”
Madeline Ames, sophomore in political science and president of the KSU Young Democrats, sent out an email to several campus organizations asking them to join them in taking a stand against white nationalism by sponsoring posters the Young Democrats are creating with each of the sponsoring organizations’ logos.
Additionally, Ames said the organization will host a chalking Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. in the Student Union to “chalk around campus with positive messages.”
The K-State Sexuality and Gender Alliance also denounced the posters, refusing to share images of them on social media so as to not offend its members or audience.
The Collegian will update this story as more organizations release statements.
Correction: The cutline for the feature photo in a previous version of this article mistakenly had the cutline for another photo. The story has been updated to the correct cutline.