Three colleges around Burlington report that stickers and posters promoting white nationalist views were left on their campuses. The University of Vermont, St. Michael’s College and Champlain College have denounced the signs and removed them.
In an email, Enrique Corredera, executive director of communications at UVM, says that last week, two note cards were left on the Mosaic Center for Students of Color display case in the Davis Center Tunnel.
The cards said “'White Privelaged [sic] And Proud of It' and 'Innocent Lives Matter Not Guilty Ones,' according on an email from the UVM Bias Response Team.
Corredera said that the signs on UVM’s campus were in violations of the university’s posting policy.
We strongly condemn any attempt to make our students of color at UVM feel unwelcome, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that UVM is welcoming and safe for all members of our community.
At St. Michael’s College, the student newspaper, The Defender, reports that stickers reading ‘it’s okay to be white’ and ‘embrace white identity today’ were found on campus over the weekend.
In a statement published by The Defender, St. Michael’s President John Neuhauser said “the college supports free speech but will not tolerate hate speech, even when thinly veiled.”
Let us be clear: This was not done in some benign way to suggest equality for all is important. According to news reports, this began with a suggestion in an online chat space to seed social disruption and draw allies to white nationalist and alt-right causes.
And in an email on Monday, Champlain College Vice President of Student Life Dr. Angela Batista wrote that over the weekend “posters promoting racist, white nationalistic views were found in various locations on Champlain’s main campus.”
All three colleges denounced the postings.
“As an institution, Champlain unequivocally condemns racism, bigotry and discrimination in all forms,” Batista said. “As community members, we must continue to reject the cowardice and hatred these messages represent.”
In her message, Batista said if anyone sees similar incidents on Champlain College’s campus, they should report them to Campus Public Safety or use the Bias Incident Report Form.
St. Michael’s and Champlain College said they are investigating the postings.
According to Corredera, UVM police “evaluated the scene and determined there was no property damage, and therefore no crime to investigate.”
UVM’s Bias Response Team said in an email that while the messages didn’t violate university policy, numerous people “expressed tremendous hurt, frustration, and concern” over the messages and that they would hold a community gathering on Tuesday to talk about the impact of the incident.
Disclosure: VPR reporter Liam Elder-Connors is a graduate of St. Michael’s College.