U Responds to ‘It’s Okay to be White’ Posters Found on Campus


Twitter user @kathleehinojosa

Posters reading, “It’s okay to be white,” like this one in Seattle, were hung in locations across the country during the first week of November.

By Abrielle Fulwider

Multiple posters that said, “It’s okay to be white,” were found on Sunday and Monday at the University of Utah.

In response, the U’s Office of Equity and Diversity posted a statement on Facebook condemning the posters Monday.

“This appears to be part of a nationwide campaign with the purpose to create division throughout our campus community,” the post said.

The office pledged to continue to work toward its goal of equality and inclusivity on campus.

“If, indeed, these tactics are meant to silence our work in diversity and inclusion, please know we shall not be deterred,” the office said. “We will continue to engage our campus in critical discussions and work together to enact real change.”

Flyers with the same message have been posted at colleges and high schools across the country. The Washington Post reported that the posters may be the result of a campaign started on the online chat site 4chan last week.

“Equity and inclusion are core values at the University of Utah,” said U spokesperson Chris Nelson. “If students, faculty or staff see posters on campus that they find inappropriate, they should let a campus administrator know immediately.”

The U has specific guidelines for campus postings, including obtaining approval from university officials, which is indicated by an expiration date stamped onto the poster. The posters found on Sunday and Monday were not approved by the U and were subsequently taken down.

Nelson also stressed the importance of reporting incidences of discrimination to the proper authorities.

“If someone on campus witnesses discrimination or feels discriminated against, they should report the incident to the U’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action or the Office for Inclusive Excellence, so the incident can be investigated and addressed,” he said.

The school recently announced the creation of the Presidential Anti-Racism Task Force to help “develop and deploy actions to increase dialogue and understanding among students, faculty and staff from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.”

The release said one of its goals is to identify what the school can do to make the U a place where students from all backgrounds can find success.

Those who feel they have experienced a bias incident or hate crime at the U may report the incident directly to campus police at 801-585-2677 or through an online form.

“Creating a culture of inclusion, in which all members of our campus feel welcomed, is incredibly important to us, and we look forward to the recommendations from the task force as we work to improve,” Nelson said.

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