Students at Central Michigan University were left reeling after anti-Semitic cards given out by a campus Republican group appeared on campus.
The College Republican group handed out Valentine gift bags to students Wednesday night, and two students ended up with a card that said “my love 4 u burns like 6,000 Jews.” The card had an image of Nazi Adolf Hitler and was signed “XOXO, Courtney.”
The student group immediately apologized for the incident while simultaneously distancing itself from the incident by claiming it was a mistake.
“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,” the statement by the College Republicans reads. “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.”
They group's president, Mackenzie Flynn, told the campus newspaper that one of their members printed out a few Valentine’s Day memes and they were supposed to be handed to group members. However, it ended in the hands of two students who were not club members.
University President George Ross said campus leaders met Thursday morning to discuss the incident.
“Such hurtful, offensive language, while protected by the First Amendment, is unacceptable and is not consistent with our values and standards,” he said in a statement that expressed his deep “disappointment.”
“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 consequences,” he added. “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.”
Cindy Hughey, executive director of the Hillel Jewish Student Center at the university, said the Jewish community on campus is “deeply concerned and disappointed that students would use anti-Semitic rhetoric and references to the Holocaust in a joking manner.”
The university reported an enrollment of 19,000 students in fall but it is unclear how much of the population is Jewish.
In response to the racist incident, Central Michigan Action “is taking a stand and refusing to let this hate go unanswered. We will reaffirm that CMU is a welcoming place for all with a peaceful demonstration and rally,” said organizers on the Facebook page.
Numerous people have expressed their concern on social media over the incident.
This is sickening.— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) February 9, 2017
And the answer is clear: Trump's torn the lid off Pandora's box of hate.https://t.co/wia0EYtmAi
Absolutely vile. https://t.co/8swOOVGn1y— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 9, 2017
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters