Signs Posted by Gustavus' Diversity Council Sparks Firestorm
A student-run organization at Gustavus Adolphus College is facing backlash after posting controversial signs on campus. Their goal was to get people talking, but not everyone is happy about how they accomplished that.
"People did think this was an actual hate crime for a few hours before it was realized so people did respond violently to that," Gustavus Junior Tara Robinson said.
The racially charged posters appeared Monday as part of a social experiment by a subcommittee group of the Diversity Leadership Council and the social justice league troupe, "I Am We Are". One sign reads: "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 idea was to post these offensive words as a part of a campus-wide initiative to promote bystander intervention and keep students thinking over the upcoming Spring Break.
"We on campus talk about the 3 D's, distract, delegate and direct which are meant to be helpful pneumonics for our students when they're finding themself in a situation that they feel like some kind of assistance needs to be given or some kind of action needs to be taken," Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students JoNes VanHecke said.
And action was taken, almost as soon as the posters went up...they were quickly torn down with word spreading fast about their existence.
"I think that there is lots of great conversation happening around campus as people express to each other- students to students- what they think is beneficial and what they think is problematic,' VanHecke said.
While the group hopes the campus will reflect on the experiment and work to ensure that no student is a victim to discrimination, students believe they went too far.
"I think most people were opposed to it and this was really an outlandish thing to do," Robinson said.
Members of the Gustavus community are invited to conclude the experiment by attending a spoken word performance by "I Am We Are" this Thursday, March 23 in the Dining Hall.
--KEYC News 12