Note: This article contains coarse language that may offend some readers.
Recent events have shown that college campuses can be dangerous places when it comes to differences of opinion — particularly those that touch on race.
It's no wonder then, that students at one Minnesota liberal arts college had powerful reactions when, as FOX 9 reports, a number of posters calling on “all white Americans” to come to the defense of their “white nation” popped up around campus:
A Notice to All White Americans
It is your civic duty to report any and all illegal aliens to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement
They are criminals
America is a white nation
As it turns out, however, it was all a “social justice experiment,” planned with the full knowledge of college administrators.
“With those posters being put up yesterday in the manner that they were, to me just made my fears come to life and had me believing that if someone could be that vocal about their feelings about immigrants ... who knows what else they would do.”
As the outrage grew, it emerged that the posters were not the work of a group of white supremacists, but the college's own Diversity Leadership Council:
Several hours after the signs were posted, the Gustavus Diversity Leadership Council addressed the “bias incident” on Facebook, writing that the posters were meant to “help educate our peers and campus community about issues of bias, and the importance of being an active bystander.”
Noting that there were separate signs posted nearby with “bystander intervention tips,” the council wrote:
We ask that everyone help prevent bias on-campus by educating yourself on ways to report bias, staying informed about bias incidents that have occurred, and assisting the Bias Response Team in identifying perpetrators.
This can all be accomplished by visiting the college’s Bias Response Team website. We also hope that everyone will be an active bystander and utilize the 3-Ds (Direct, Delegate, Distract) as encouraged by the Bystander Intervention Team.
We understand that the language in these images may be hurtful — we apologize to those who were negatively impacted.
However, the social justice experiment — and the short-lived panic that followed it — is something that alumni have not exactly looked kindly on:
One alumna, for example, has urged her fellow graduates to contact Gustavus to ask that professors “talk about how f**ked up this is with their students.”
Nonetheless, Dean Van Hecke has insisted that the fact that “multiple students ... reported the incidents to the institution” was exactly “the kind of positive bystander interaction we would hope for.”