A White Student Union has been formed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in response to what an organizer said is “terrorism” from black student activists, leading to controversy on campus.
The group, called “Illini White Student Union,” announced its formation through a Facebook page, the Independent noted. The group claimed it was forming to “organize against the terrorism we have been facing from Black Lives Matter activists on campus.”
The White Student Union was met with an immediate backlash, with the group Standing With Her writing to administrators following a national day of activism. The group was troubled with how the White Student Union appeared to be targeting specific black students.
“The third, and most alarming, post stated, ‘Feel free to send in pictures you take of any black protestors on the quad so we know who antiwhites are.’ In addition to sharing a couple of sources “devoted to fighting antiwhite racism,” the Illini White Student Union went so far as to post a screenshot of a Black woman UIUC student’s facebook page, including her full name and profile picture, along with her Facebook post that speaks out against the Illini White Student Union’s page.
“We are concerned by this threat to her life and other actions they plan to ‘organize against’ the Black Lives Matter activists on campus whom they have labelled as ‘antiwhite’.”
The college’s vice chancellor of student affairs, Rene Romano, said administrators notified Facebook about the page and asked for its removal.
“We also are reaching out directly to those responsible for the postings, notifying them that the usage of our name is in violation of our trademark rights and ordering them to cease and desist,” she said.
The White Student Union page was ultimately removed from Facebook, but some reports suggest that the site was not entirely removed and is now being moderated by Facebook, the Independent noted.
The move comes amid growing tensions on American college campuses related to race issues. This month the president of the University of Missouri resigned amid protests from students that he and administrators ignored racist incidents stretching back years. Other campuses have seen demonstrations, with students demanding more resources for minority clubs and greater diversity among faculty members.
— KETV NewsWatch 7 (@KETV) November 19, 2015
How Black Lives Matter, born on the streets, is rising to power on campus – Washington Post https://t.co/lm4DISF6Hh
— Gonzalo Wolfred (@GonzaloWolfred) November 17, 2015
This is not the first time a so-called White Student Union has gotten into trouble. In 2013, a group with the same name at Towson University began instituting patrols to stop alleged “black on white crime” on campus, ABC 2 News reported. The group was deemed a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
But organizers defended the group and its purpose, which they claimed was non-violent.
“The goal is not to go out and intimidate, the goal is not to go out and prove something, the goal is just to be an extra set of eyes and ears for the [Towson] community at large,” said founder Matthew Heimbach.
Despite Heimbach’s assurances, racial tensions began to rise at Towson, inflamed in large part due to a controversial blog post titled, “Black Crime Wave Continues!”
The post read, in part:
“White Southern men have long been called to defend their communities when law enforcement and the State seem unwilling to protect our people. The virtue of white Christian womanhood is under attack at Towson University by degenerate criminals seeking to rob our women of their God given innocence.”
While the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign administration may be against the idea of the White Student Union, a campus spokeswoman said that the creator has a First Amendment right to start the group, and if the founder is a student, she said the school “will not take any actions against them.”
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]