Clark College is responding this week to anti-Semitic posters that were found on campus, as well as two incidents of someone using racial slurs against students.
In what college President Bob Knight referred to in a campuswide email as “increasingly aggressive forms of racism at the college,” someone affixed anti-Semitic posters to the outside of Gaiser Hall. That central building houses the college welcome center and leads to the student union building as well as the library.
In addition, someone last week shouted a racist slur at a student when they were crossing the street, and another student received a racist message on social media, Clark College spokesman Chato Hazelbaker said.
In his email, Knight accused the perpetrators of intentionally working to sow discord at the school.
“Rather than participate in a dialogue they have chosen to attempt to bully members of our community,” Knight wrote. “These will require us to stand together as a community to make it clear that we are inclusive and will not allow hate to take hold here.”
The Office of Diversity and Equity will host a community forum responding to the incidents 2 p.m. Thursday at the student center in the Penguin Union Building at the main campus.
Students, staff and community members are invited to attend and discuss ideas on how to support each other in light of the posters and racist messages, according to an email sent by Loretta Capeheart, associate vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for the campus.
“I’m always hopeful that the person or persons who are spreading this hate realize they are not going to get anywhere here and stop,” Capeheart told the Columbian.
Knight called on all students, staff and the community to take responsibility to make sure the campus remains safe and secure.
“Racist attacks on our students and anti-Semitic fliers cannot exist within an inclusive environment,” Knight wrote. “These are acts of exclusion with a long history of hateful, racist and genocidal actions.”
In November, signs reading “It’s OK to be white” were found at Clark College, prompting fear and anger from some students on the campus. Similar demonstrations bearing the same slogan preceded and followed the appearance of the posters.
Though it’s unclear who left the posters on campus, a story by The Washington Post described “It’s OK to be white” posters across college campuses as a concentrated effort by the alt-right – a loosely connected ideology encompassing white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other far-right groups – to recruit people into white nationalist circles.
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