By: Sally Andarge, Social Media Editor
On Thursday, November 1, the Regis community was shocked by white supremacist signage posted around campus. Students reported finding “It’s OK to be white” signs posted on every building on campus. Word spread quickly when students started posting pictures of the signs on social media, notifying their fellow students about the signs, and tearing down signs all over campus.
Although this unfortunate event caused a lot of shock and feelings of vulnerability and discomfort, especially for students of color on campus, this is nothing new. The “It’s OK to be white” movement started online in 2017. It was allegedly started so that society’s response to the slogan would push right leaning moderates to the “far-right”. Signs and stickers with the phrase “It’s OK to be white” were posted along streets and on campuses across the U.S.
A few days prior to the incident on Regis’ campus, the same signs were found at the University of Vermont and Champlain College. UVM responded by removing the signage as quickly as possible and released a statement saying they would not support such activity that bolstered white nationalism.
As you may have suspected, the response was quite similar here on Regis’ campus. Many students were uneasy at the open display of white nationalism taking place on campus, so a few students joined Father Fitzgibbons at a lunch time dialogue hosted and organized by Dr. Nicki Gonzales and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The students voiced their concerns about the signs and the lack of attention given to issues surrounding race in the current political climate.
Students say that Father President was receptive and wanted to be tactical about how he addressed such issues. Three hours later the student body received and email from the Office of the President. The subject line read, “Call to Reject Hate on our Campus” and was signed by Dr. Nicki Gonzales, Dean Patrick Romero-Aldaz, and RUSGA Student Body President Enrico Gomez.
The email expressed that although Regis as an institution stands by freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas, they would not “tolerate the use of this principle as a vehicle for hate.”
We hope to see future activism that doesn’t cross the line between free speech and hate speech.