Auburn University officials are calling the recent anti-Semitic fliers on its east Alabama campus “reprehensible” and is denying any affiliation with the group responsible, the New York Post reports.
A white nationalist group, which calls itself the “Auburn White Student Union”, claims responsibility for the leaflets with hate content, which sparked outrage on social media. The flare-up prompted the university Twitter page to condemn the fliers and White Student Union.
— Jonece Starr Dunigan (@StarrDunigan) April 12, 2017
“This group isn’t an Auburn student org, and we find the views expressed in their materials reprehensible and unrepresentative of the university,” the university was reported to have tweeted, according to Inside Higher Education.
But not everyone is satisfied with Auburn University’s response. One user tweeted back: “That’s nice and all, but what actions are being taken? Can we do something about them using our name like this?”
The controversy around the self-described “alt-right” group is set against a backdrop of increasing white supremacy activities on American campuses, a phenomenon some say are caused by the changing political landscape in the United States.
The tense political divide in the university is unlikely to go away so soon. Infamous white nationalist leader, Richard Spencer, is slated to speak on campus next Tuesday on issues such as US President Donald Trump, Syria and the alt-right.
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer plans to speak at Auburn University in Alabama on Tuesday. Spread the word to anti-racist students! pic.twitter.com/Pbuy8EVnLK
— Atlanta Antifascists (@afainatl) April 12, 2017
Spencer rose to infamy last November when a video of him shouting “Hail Trump” while making Nazi salutes at a white nationalist gathering surfaced.
According to Spencer, his talk at Auburn will be “wild”. Both alumni and students were reported to have decried his event on social media. Two separate protests are in the works to object Spencer’s talk, which will take place before and after the event.
Auburn University statement on Richard Spencer: https://t.co/4vH5exuSvr
— Auburn University (@AuburnU) April 12, 2017
In a statement, the university detached itself from the “alt-right” leader’s views that have been branded as “neo-Nazi” by opponents, saying they “strongly” deplore his views that goes against the school’s.
However, the university backs his “constitutional right to free speech” and will allow him to hold his talk at the school’s Foy Hall Auditorium even though they did not invite him there or have any affiliation with him.
“We encourage the campus community to respond to speech they find objectionable with their own views in civil discourse and to do so with respect and inclusion”
In the university’s second statement, it reiterated the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and called for the campus community to respond to “offensive speech” with “dialogue and behaviour that is inclusive, respectful, and espouses the Auburn Creed”. It also highlighted the campus resources available to do so, such as the Center for Cross Cultural Excellence and Office of Inclusion and Diversity.
“Our efforts to reinforce the values of inclusion and diversity across all aspects of Auburn’s campus remain at the forefront of our work.”