The Editorial Board
According to WFAA, police are investigating the “white nationalist propaganda” fliers that appeared in Wooten Hall and other UNT areas this week. Including appalling headlines such as “we have a right to exist,” and “White America is under attack,” at least six of these fliers have been uncovered and taken down.
Isaac Davis, a UNT student for his second year, discovered one of the fliers and took a photo of one, according to the report. He later described the signs as “shocking,” “suspicious” and “could potentially be dangerous.”
UNT isn’t the only American college to be plagued with this issue. Last November and December, white supremacist group American Vanguard posted similar fliers at Massachusetts’ Emerson College, Indiana’s Purdue University and the University of Central Florida.
At Purdue in particular, one poster read, “Defending your people is a social duty, not an anti-social crime.” Since the message was typified by artwork of a white woman and her baby, it’s disturbingly clear how perverse this nationalist epidemic actually is.
— Imani Black (@imaniblack_) January 30, 2017
Worst of all, these posts aren’t illegal by national standards. Thanks to the seemingly flawless First Amendment, freedom of speech is protected for the sake of all people, assemblies and white supremacists throughout the nation.
In fact, the only reason an investigation can even happen is because those signs violated university policy. According to University Policy #07.012, students “are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates respect for the rights and property of others.” We are also expected to “[uphold] the integrity of the university community.”
Originally issued on Aug. 1, 2003, the objective of this policy is “to foster a safe environment conducive to learning and development.” But who would’ve guessed that almost 14 years later, the Code of Student Conduct would be invoked to prevent the dissemination of xenophobia on our beloved Mean Green?
Since similar reports began last November, it’s easy to assume that the election and inauguration of President Trump provided a gateway for groups like American Vanguard and the “alt-right” to rise.
While America’s fearless leader was wise enough to expand his slogan into “[making] America great again for everyone,” his executive order to ban Muslims and plot for an anti-immigrant wall are only worsening matters for people who aren’t white Christian males. These kinds of nationalists on North Texan soil are simply a further step in splitting America apart.
Say what you will about UNT President Neal Smatresk’s Monday letter, which declares a commitment to international students and faculty despite his refusal to declare UNT a sanctuary campus. Regardless, the letter provides at least one commendable statistic: how “our university family is greatly enriched by more than 2,500 international students from more than 130 countries.”
By citing this, President Smatresk reassured students that our campus has, and will continue to, turn blind eyes to any student’s “country of origin or immigration status.” Despite the threat of white supremacy, his letter is more than enough encouragement for us to continue spreading progressive thought everywhere we go.
Due to First Amendment guarantees, these racist groups have something of a “right to exist.” On the flipside, the Constitution gives us the right to speak against them in return.
Hopefully, we won’t have to resort to violence in our efforts to combat this growing rebirth of proto-fascism. No matter how many people are hurt defending what’s right, racism is a cross-generational ideology that will never truly end.
However, virtue will never end either. Therefore, we can exercise our right to keep that ideology moving forward.
Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins