President shares message following appearance of troubling fliers on campus

Penn State President Eric J. Barron has shared the following message with the University community, following the appearance of troubling fliers on campus.

In the past several days we have witnessed the recurrence of fliers touting the “Identity Evropa” movement. We have expressed our obligation to free speech, which prohibits our removal of posters from general purpose bulletin boards on campus based solely on content. We, however, want to emphasize our strong opposition to the racist ideology espoused by those who are posting these fliers. To be crystal clear – white supremacy, or any other doctrine that elevates one group above another, has no place at Penn State and we strongly condemn language and actions that promote racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, violence, discrimination and other forms of hate.

We understand that the actions of individuals from these groups are hurtful to many in our community and we share in your frustration, concern and anger. We are indeed paying attention to what is happening, not only here, but across the nation. Law enforcement is monitoring activities, and we want to emphasize that there are many resources available that provide safety, counseling and assistance to members of the Penn State community who feel impacted by these displays of intimidation.

Increasingly, hate groups seek to take advantage of the free speech protections that are afforded by colleges and universities. The free exchange of ideas is central to the intellectual and academic work of a university. Hate groups exploit our openness in the attempt to divide us into factions and trigger reactionary responses. The safety of our community is paramount and we encourage everyone to report incidents of concern so that they can be investigated.

While hate groups may post their fliers, their ideas will never take root here. What they stand for is contrary to what it means to be members of the Penn State community and the human community.

 

Eric J. Barron

President, Penn State

Last Updated September 21, 2017