A national conservative group yesterday called on George Washington University to expel students who admitted that they targeted the group in a hoax that covered the campus with hundreds of anti-Muslim posters.
“Vicious personal attacks levied on students are intolerable and should not go unpunished,” Ron Robinson, president of the Young America”s Foundation, told university President Steven Knapp.
In a letter (downloads PDF) obtained by The Washington Times, Mr. Robinson cited a statement by Student Association Executive Vice President Brand Kroeger, who said he “would support expulsion” of students responsible for distributing the “heinous” posters.
The foundation was the target of posters displayed around the university”s Foggy Bottom campus Monday that proclaimed “Hate Muslims? So Do We!”
Muslim students at the university said they felt attacked by the posters.
A group of seven students — including a nationally known anti-war activist and an officer of the university”s Progressive Student Union — took responsibility Tuesday, saying the hoax was aimed at “exposing Islamophobic racism.”
A student conservative leader said university officials initially accused the foundation of printing the posters, which Mr. Knapp has condemned as “reprehensible.”
“We were treated as suspects until the university got all the facts right,” said Sergio Gor, a senior and foundation activist. “The only reason we got attacked was because we”re a conservative group.”
Mr. Gor said he was “shocked and appalled” by the posters, which targeted “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week,” a nationwide event planned later this month by the foundation.
In a letter to the Hatchet, a campus newspaper, graduate student Adam Kokesh, senior Brian Tierney and five other students took responsibility for the hoax, which they called a “creative political action.”
“We exposed the upcoming Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week … for the celebration of racism it is,” the students wrote. “[T]he hyperbolic nature of the [poster] was aimed at exposing Islamophobic racism. … We hope that as a community we can come together to oppose the true racist propaganda that we initially set out to expose.”
Mr. Tierney is a self-proclaimed socialist and revolutionary whose page on the social-networking site MySpace prominently displays Mr. Kokesh as a prominent activist with Iraq Veterans Against the War.
On Monday, university officials were unequivocal in their condemnation of the posters.
“There is no place for expressions of hatred on our campus. … We do not condone, and we will not tolerate, the dissemination of fliers or other documents that vilify any religious, ethnic, or racial group,” Mr. Knapp said.
A university spokeswoman yesterday declined to comment on the students” admission of responsibility for the hoax.
“We are making progress in the investigation and will have an updated press statement when the investigation is concluded,” said spokeswoman Tracy Schario.
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week — from Oct. 22 to Oct. 26 at more than 100 college and university campuses — has been criticized by such organizations as the Revolutionary Communist Party, which called the event “a conscious effort to bring together, mobilize and cohere a social base of diverse reactionaries and outright fascists, both on and off campuses.”
Conservative author David Horowitz, whose California-based organization is co-sponsoring the event called the hoax “a stratagem typical of the deceitful smear campaigns the left seems to favor.”