MOUNT VERNON — Posters circulated by the Mount Vernon Nazarene University office of Student Life promoting meetings and discussions regarding racial justice have been torn down on the campus, while additional posters have been circulating the campus, touting the phrase “it is OK to be white.”
MVNU President Henry Spaulding II told the News that the posters were promoting meetings for the Justice Project, a year-long event with the office of Student Life. The meetings the posters were advertising have already occurred on the campus, and the project serves as way to promote conversations about racial justice and equality.
“Recently, it has come to the attention of the Senior Leadership Team that posters supporting a healthy conversation regarding racial justice have been torn down,” an email from the Senior Leadership Team sent to the campus-wide community stated. “In addition, posters saying, ‘it is OK to be white,’ were posted around campus. While this appears to be a benign phrase, it is clearly associated with the white supremacist movement. These posters are unwelcome on this campus.”
Spaulding explained that these additional posters appeared to be 8-by-10, computer-generated posters, and were placed in areas where diversity students gather frequently.
Additionally, posters with the phrase “the pay gap is a myth” were also found on the campus, which refers to the discrepancy in wages between men and women and between white people and minorities.
There were at least four or five posters, and according to Spaulding, they have been removed and taken to the office of Student Life.
“While I’ve not done a lot of research on it, we do know that the phrase [‘it is OK to be white,’] is associated with white supremacists in America,” Spaulding said. “I intend to do a lot more research into the matter. There’s not, as far we know, an organized group on campus. Students sometimes do things they think is cute. How anyone could think this is cute, I don’t know. But if we did find an organized group we would deal with it swiftly, but we have no indication of it.”
According to Spaulding, the Senior Leadership Team will continue to address these issues in the future if they feel they need to, but will not convene the entire student body together to discuss it, as final exams begin next week.
“The Church of the Nazarene has taken a long-standing position of addressing racial justice,” Spaulding said. “It is in our tradition to not accept this in our faith.”