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College administration responds to hate speech signs posted on campus

Fresh snow covers Converse Hall on Feb. 7. A hate group posted unauthorized signs around Westminster College’s campus and at the University of Utah’s block U which prompted immediate action from Westminster’s administration. (Photo by Alex Dunn)

Members of a white nationalist group placed a banner reading “End immigration!” at the University of Utah’s block U on Saturday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

“Oh shit I didn’t know about that,” said Sloane Gordon, 20-year-old marketing major at the University of Utah. “But honestly, it doesn’t surprise me. We’ve had a lot of political tension on our campus in the past year, especially with the controversy of having Milo Yiannopoulos come to speak.”

A similar group also recently posted signs on Westminster College’s campus that were red and white, saying “Not Stolen, Conquered” with a picture of the United States and “Better Dead than Red” with a picture of a hammer and sickle.

“These signs have not been approved for posting by Westminster,” said Marco Barker, associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion in an email to the campus community. “Materials that violate our posting policies, target an individual or group with messages of hate, or are designed to inspire fear or promote violence are damaging not only to individuals, but to our community as a place of learning and inclusive excellence.”

Barker said that messages and postings have unfortunately become more common on college campuses and across the country.

While some students said they were not phased by the incident, the administration at Westminster responded swiftly and, in an campus-wide email, encouraged students to remove any signs they found and report their location.

“We have had occurrences of posters on our campus in the past couple of years,” said Karnell McConnell-Black, dean of students and interim vice president of student affairs at Westminster. “Since developing our Bias Response protocol, we have been able to track trends and understand the concerns of our campus community. We encourage campus members to utilize our Bias reporting process to help us stay aware of bias incidents on campus at westminstercollege.edu/bias.”

Resources:

Bias Response Form: https://www.westminstercollege.edu/about/resources/bias-response/bias-report-form

Email: bias@westminstercollege.edu

*This article was updated on Feb. 21.

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Davis Lentz
Davis is a 22-year-old communication major at Westminster College who grew up in Rhode Island. He enjoys spending time in either the mountains or on the water and recently discovered he likes sushi.

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