White nationalist posters at Weber State — an SE reader conversation

Saturday , September 02, 2017 - 5:00 AM2 comments

GREG HALLING, Standard-Examiner Staff

Weber State University took down about a dozen posters promoting white supremacy last weekend.

No one claimed responsibility for distributing the posters, which included racist and anti-Semitic comments.

  • RELATED: “White nationalist posters taken down at Weber State as school year starts”

School officials took them down because they were taped onto glass surfaces and over existing posters, which violates campus policy.

Classes started Monday. Allison Barlow Hess, the school’s spokeswoman, said officials learned about the posters Sunday.

“There was not a broad sweep of campus by say, the police, going around making sure they were all taken down,” she said. “It’s about a balance between free speech and a safe campus.”

Here’s how readers reacted to the story when we shared it on Facebook. All quotes are verbatim:

Della Hughes: Uuuuhhhh what happened to free speech? I'm not racist nor do I agree with racism but we do live in a FREE country right?

Aaron Chadwick: Free speech rights aren't universal. Posting stuff on campus usually requires permission.

Camille Barosky: WSU is not a governmental institution.

Laurie Rhodes Maloy: Free speech doesn't mean dangerous speech nor does it mean you can run a muck everywhere and say anything. Read the Bill of Rights.

Josh Reeves: Free speech means government entities generally can't restrict your speech (although exceptions are made for cases of national security). Has nothing to do with a campus' policies or other societal consequences.

Alix Kubicki: Second sentence of the article

"The posters, which included racist and anti-semitic comments, were removed because they were either taped over existing posters or onto glass, which violates school policy, spokeswoman Allison Barlow Hess said Monday, Aug. 28."

Carson Heslop: This is hate speech! Free speech does not protect hate speech.

Eric Mitchell: Camille Barosky I think WSU is a government institution, it is a state university, publicly funded by the state. That being said, rules were violated by the posters, so they were taken down.

Paul R Perkins Sr: They should be taken down. Could be a matter of safety. Don't need a riot on campus.

Kylie Toponce: I feel I had the freedom to take it down... because I don't believe in freedom of hate speech or freedom of bigotry.

Vikki Deakin: It is not an absolute right. The Supreme Court has made that clear time and time again. Speech that incites violence is not protected speech. Speech that incites violation of the law is not protected speech. Speech that presents a "clear and present danger" is not protected speech. It is not enough to simply quote the Constitution; you need to also understand how the Constitution has been interpreted and its meaning according to the Supreme Court. You cannot ignore Constitutional law and precedent simply because you disagree with it. The Supreme Law of the Land is the Supreme Law of the Land.

Sue Delaney: The racists are trying to start a new civil war, nothing more, nothing less....this is a concerted effort nationwide, they are targeting college campuses for impressionable people to convert with their hate message and racism, calling it " white nationalism " .....as if whites are oppressed....give me a break....giving others the same rights that " whites " have doesn't diminish your rights....guess the people that buy into the whole white nationalist propaganda want the unlevel playing field because they can't compete, cut it with the level playing field where EVERYONE is equal.

Kia Burleson-Norman: Both my boys are attending this school year and I have to say the both of the them would just laugh at whoever did it! Ignorance and hate will never pull them out of there character,

James Courchaine: Why post this? Why give them even a bit of air time. If Weber State saw it and took it down. Why even say anything about it? All you are doing by "reporting" on this is keeping the hate train a flowing.

Lisa McKitrick VanDyke: I agree, except that people have a tendency to pretend things aren't happening in Utah, when clearly they are. It is important for the general public to appreciate that this is an issue, in our own community. And that starts with being informed.

Janis Branca: This is my campus. Hate speech, racism, and white supremacy will not be tolerated.

Travis Buehler: I took this semester off, but had I walked by one of those, I probably would have taken it down and trashed it myself. I too enjoy the full extent of American liberties, but perpetuating the deep sores of oppression, intolerance, and inequality from our nation's past is not acceptable in any way.

Jamie Carter Park: This is so disappointing. I can't imagine how it made the non-white students feel.

Colt Harris: I'm so sick and tired of hearing this on every news article on radio, tv, blog, post, tweet and newspaper.

Guillé Elizabeth Escareño: I'm glad Weber State is holding up against bigotry.

Bobby Parks: Is this really worth writing a story about?

Janis Branca: Yes, it is.

Jennifer Serrano Mikkelsen Sinatra: Rotten posters and people.

Jesse M Barnard: It's pretty nasty this needs to be a thing in the first place. How sad.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.