Internet trolls provoked outrage over Halloween by hanging “It’s OK to be white” posters at several U.S. and Canadian college campuses.
The signs were reported at Harvard, Princeton, Auburn and Tulane universities; the universities of Western Washington, Kansas and California, Berkeley; and the universities of Alberta and Toronto.
Campus officials typically removed the signs, which were condemned as “divisive” and “racist” by students and administrators alike. In several cases, the police were called.
The stunt was organized on 4chan’s “Politically Incorrect” board to show that “lefties & journalists hate white people.” Seeing “the media & lefties frothing at the mouth” in response to the signs would “nuke” their credibility, the author of the 4chan thread wrote, ensuring a “massive victory for the right in the culture war.”
The police were called to Cambridge Common and Harvard Square on Nov. 1 to investigate more than a dozen “It’s OK to be white” stickers posted on light poles and electrical boxes around the town, the Boston Globe reported. Workers from the Department of Public Works removed all of the signs with knives by morning.
Marcia L. Sells, dean of students at Harvard Law School, called the posters “provocations intended to divide us from one another.”
“HLS will not let that happen here,” Ms. Sells wrote in an email to students, the Harvard Crimson reported.
“We live, work, teach, and learn together in a community that is stronger, better, and deeper because of our diversity and because we encourage open, respectful, and constructive discourse.”
A sign posted to the door of the University of Alberta’s native student center also launched an investigation on that campus.
University President David Turpin released a statement addressing “several incidents of racism that have occurred on north campus in recent days.”
“Messaging or displays that target or marginalize any individuals or groups will not be tolerated,” Mr. Turpin said in a statement, World Net Daily reported. “We are working with the University of Alberta Protective Services to find the parties responsible.”
Mady Womack, student body president at the University of Kansas, said it is “shameful that anyone would use these posters to promote a racist agenda.”
“I am deeply disgusted that this organized online campaign to divide university communities across the country has come to our campus,” Ms. Womack told the University Daily Kansan.
Posters were found in residence halls, academic buildings, and on bulletin boards around campus at Tulane University, the Tulane Hullabaloo reported. Heather Seaman, director of the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, said they were immediately taken down.
Mike Strecker, executive director for Tulane public relations, said the president’s office was reviewing surveillance footage to determine the identity of the culprit.
“We believe these signs were posted at Tulane as part of a national campaign,” Mr. Strecker said.
“To state the obvious, it is ‘OK’ to be any race. We have no idea who posted the signs, but that person is obviously not speaking for Tulane University. Tulane is firmly committed to diversity and to supporting every member of our community.”
Police were called Nov. 3 in response to reports of posters in several locations at the University of California, Berkeley, the Daily Californian reported. Department spokesperson Sgt. Sabrina Reich said the signs did not constitute a hate crime because they did not target a specific race and because no criminal act was committed.