Officials of Central Michigan University are investigating who’s behind the Valentine’s Day card, featuring an image of Adolf Hitler and the words “my love 4u burns like 6,000 jews,” that was unknowingly handed out by a member of the College Republicans.
— Lauren O'Neil (@laurenonizzle) February 10, 2017
The campus organization distributed gift bags to students and one of those bags contained the anti-Semitic card. The group labeled the card as “very inappropriate” and issued a statement. While the group apologized for handing out the card to students, the members insist that they are clueless as to who made the material.
“At tonight’s College Republican meeting, we had a Valentine’s Day party, in which each member decorated a bag and other members placed valentines inside of others’ bags. Unfortunately, a very inappropriate card was placed into a bag without other members’ knowledge. A bag was then given away to students sitting in Anspach [Hall], once again without members’ knowledge of its contents. The College Republicans as an organization did not distribute this valentine. We in no way condone this type of rhetoric or anti-Semitism. We apologize for any offense, and want students to know that we do not tolerate this sort of behavior.”
In a statement, University President George Ross said that university leaders are investigating.
“We caution against concluding that the action is representative of the entire student organization or its members and remind all that threatening others as a result of such an incident can have legal consequence. We once again urge each of our students, faculty and staff to be beacons of peace, respect, inclusivity, and civility — to be role models of integrity, dignity and leadership.”
Kirsten Simmons, a spokeswoman for the university, said via Chicago Tribune that the leaders are “deeply disappointed” because “this type of hurtful language” is “not something that represents who we are as a campus and as a community.”
The Central Michigan Action immediately scheduled a demonstration and rally to denounce the card. The student activists’ purpose for the anti-hate speech event is to reaffirm that the university is a welcoming place for people regardless of their upbringing.
— Joel Feick (@joelfeick) February 9, 2017
Following the incident, former students and non-students alike have expressed concerns through the university’s Facebook page.
Lisa Rao believes the university should remind its students of what transpired during the dark regime of 1933.
“WOW! I think you need to have a mandatory teach-in to all of your student body about the atrocities that took place under the fascist regime of 1933, which should include its rise to power and democratic election.”
Suggestions to expel the students responsible for creating the card are common on the page as well.
“I believe at this point expelling the students involved would set a standard for all university students to understand that this will never be tolerated! Anything less would earmark you as being totally intolerant to other religions and races! This is comparable to a hate crime.”
For Jessica Lumbreras, it is the university’s obligation to provide its students with a respectful and non-threatening learning environment. “There’s a huge difference between speaking your mind and joking about a massacre of an entire religious group to fellow students. It’s disrespectful and wrong,” she added.
Kay Wight Morgan claims not to be a student or a member of the minority but feels ashamed for the people involved in the incident. Having freedom of speech does not entitle anyone to perpetuate hate. For her, the individual who made fun of the Holocaust should face consequences.
On the other hand, some ask the university to continue its investigation before releasing statements to not further draw the ire of people.
[Featured Image by Fedorovacz/Shutterstock]