Students at the University of California, Davis, have received an email from the school's administration informing them about racist fliers posted around campus, and warning them that some of the posters may have razor blades concealed within the tape holding them up.
"Although the First Amendment may give someone the right to criticize UC Davis' proud commitment to diversity, it also gives me the right to condemn messages such as the ones we were subjected to this week," said interim chancellor Ralph Hexter in an email to the student body about the fliers, according to UC Davis student newspaper, The Aggie.
"These posters were designed to fuel hatred directed at virtually every member of our campus community," said Hexter. "I encourage vigorous discussion of difficult issues, and I welcome all points of view, but I will not remain silent when confronted with messages designed to stifle discussion by promoting fear and intolerance."
In an advisory post on Facebook, the school went on to warn students that some of the fliers had razor blades concealed within opaque tape, set up as a trap for those who would try to remove the fliers. The school advised students to exercise caution in removing the white supremacist fliers, because several students and faculty had already been cut by hidden razor blades.
"Are you sick of anti-white propaganda in college?" read one of the posters. Another read, "Race is real," with a hate message below it: "Your professors are lying to keep their jobs." The fliers included a link to a white supremacist website.
Katheryn Olmsted, a history professor at UC Davis, echoed Hexter's concerns about the posters, pointing to the history of the Ku Klux Klan as an example of white supremacism. "Theories that there’s a conspiracy against white people have a long history in the United States," she said.
"You can go back to second Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s and see this anger among white Protestant Americans that feel like their country is being changed," said Olmsted. "They believe that white men in particular are losing their place in society and their authority."
A spokesperson for the college, Kim Hale, said that the posters had been removed and that the group had placed them on other college campuses as well, according to Raw Story.
"They did not advocate violence or any action against any group of people but did violate our Principles of Community and were removed," said Hale.
Matthew Stratton, an English professor at the school, said that the posters could be taken in context with the current political landscape after the 2016 presidential election.
"We’re seeing them all over the country, the grotesque reality of what used to be extremely fringe," said Stratton. "That has been encouraged and normalized by the media, by the last election. So it’s no surprise that we’re starting to see reports of this happening and worse, all over."