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Debate on campus: white supremacist posters are free speech or

hate speech?
By Michal Antonov
March 19, 2017

Credit: The
Diamondback

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - This message was on a poster found on the Chemistry
Building last week: A notice to all white Americans: it is your civic duty to
report any and all illegal aliens to U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement. They are criminals. America is a white nation.

The link at the bottom of the poster directs students to the website of
Vanguard America, a white supremacist group.

This is not the first time students reported seeing these of posters. Members
of Vanguard America posted fliers around campus in December 2016. Their
messages included phrases such as we have a right to exist and defending
your people is a social duty not an anti-social crime.

After sighting the posters, the university Police were called.


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Credit: The
Diamondback

Students were shown the posters above and were asked what they thought
of them.

Aliza Silverman, a junior, said, White people have always had the right to
exist here so they dont need to advocate for their rights because they dont
need to do that. Other people need the support more than white people do,

Others are more concerned.

Charles Boulton, a sophomore, said, I think its absolutely terrible. I didnt


expect to see something like this on an educated community like the campus
of Maryland. Its really sad, honestly, to see that people could actually be
spreading something so hateful,

Students were asked why they thought these posters were showing up on
campus at this time.
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Folu Koiki, a junior, said I would say its the unrest and the social change
going on in the country right now due to the new president. A lot of things
that were closed before opened, so a lot of things that mightve been socially
unacceptable to say before are now acceptable,

People gave mixed answers when asked if these messages are protected
under free speech. Some people said that it depends on each individual
message.

Joche Angbazo, a senior, said that they are criminals. This is a white nation
needs to be investigated because of its possible violent outcome. The other
messages are protected under free speech. Laura Cross, a sophomore, said
that these messages should be investigated when they become more
prominent because there havent many cases or until they become more
radical.

Sara Thompson, an advisor at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union, thinks that
its a tough case.
She said that whats behind it is hateful, but these messages are not, in
her opinion, hate speech.

But most people agree that these are instances of hate speech and that the
university should investigate them.

Joey Mitchell, a sophomore, said, Were a complete diverse melting pot and
white supremacy has absolutely no place in our society so therefore it cant
be seen as free speech if its hurting another group,
Some even think that these messages are a violation of Title IX because of
the dangers they pose.

Eric Higgins, a junior, said, If somebody feels like they cannot leave their
dorm or apartment to go to class safely, then thats sort of minimizing their
right to an education,

On Dec. 14, 2016 the university released a response to these incidents that
read,

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As an institution of higher education, the University of Maryland is
committed to the core values of diversity and inclusiveness and do not
condone hateful language. Even in difficult situations, however, we honor the
right to freedom of speech.

Most people said that the university needs to have a better response and
that these posters should be taken down.

The University of Maryland is not the only campus that has seen these
posters around. The American Defamation League reported that white
supremacists have been active on several college campuses in 25 states.

We condemn this hateful speech, and continue to work with universities to


track these campaigns, said Heather Gilles, a spokesperson from the
organizations District of Columbia regional office.

On Mar. 6 the ADL released a report about white supremacists on college


campuses. You can find more information about these incidents here.
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