“It’s Okay to be White” fliers found on UC Davis campus

KYLA ROUNDS / AGGIE

Chancellor, Vice Chancellor condemn white nationalist sentiments

On the weekend of Nov. 4 and 5, fliers with the single sentence “It’s Okay to be White” were posted around campus. Chancellor Gary S. May rejected the white supremacist message and explained that the fliers were part of a nationwide campaign. The fliers were also found at Harvard, Concordia College, Tulane University, UC Berkeley and Princeton as well as the Canadian University of Alberta.  

According to Andy Fell, the communications manager at UC Davis News and Media Relations, the fliers were found “in the Women’s Resources and Research Center and the Student Community Center.” According to The Sacramento Bee, the fliers were also found near the Center for African Diaspora Student Success.

The concept of the fliers was spread through 4chan, an online imageboard “where anyone can post comments and share images.” Users posted threads asking for these fliers to be hung in public places, claiming that the phrase “It’s Okay to be White” is innocuous.

On Nov. 9, Chancellor May wrote an op-ed for The California Aggie, stating that the fliers were “seeking to goad us” and aiming “to provoke a reaction and portray it as evidence of growing anti-white discrimination on college campuses.” Chancellor May confirmed that white-nationalist groups like those responsible for the flier are appealing to white-nationalist anxieties.

“The posters were part of a national campaign of provocations intended to divide our country,” May wrote.

May also rejected the notion that a top 10 research university like UC Davis, which “prides itself on diversity, inclusion and civil discourse,” would make an ideal site to “persuade people to accept the concept of ‘white victimhood.’”

Vice Chancellor Adela de la Torre’s email to the UC Davis community included a link to a Washington Post article. The Post wrote that investigators at the Southern Poverty Law Center found that “white nationalist organizations regard colleges as spaces where millions of young Americans, without their intervention, will be inculcated with ideas of valuing diversity, seeking and creating inclusion and equity.”

May stated in his op-ed that the fliers were in violation of a campus posting ordinance, and weren’t removed because of the subject matter.

“We removed the signs on Sunday (Nov. 5) wherever we found them,” May said. “All were in violation of our campus posting policy, which generally prohibits postings on buildings, walls, windows and trees — whether it’s for a political cause or a blood drive.”

De la Torre put forth options in her email for diversity-initiated Community Resource and Retention Center programs which would  “strengthen community bonds and dialogue” that “emphasize common ground.”

ASUCD President Josh Dalavai, a fourth-year political science and economics double major, responded to the fliers and condemned white supremacist rhetoric at UC Davis.

“These actions were bigoted and, quite frankly, I believe any individual who resonates with this message is either not very intelligent or outright racist,” Dalavai wrote via email. “No one is literally denying that it is okay to be white; it is okay to be anything on this campus except hateful. The fact that some individuals felt that the mere existence of the Center for African Diaspora Student Success warrants a threat to ‘being white’ speaks volumes.”

 

Written by: Aaron Liss — campus@theaggie.org