Once again, a university administration discovers that no matter what it does in reaction to an incident which offends campus interest groups, it won’t be sufficient.
American University played unwilling host on Monday to several anti-immigration flyers stating “NO means NO,” “#MyBordersMyChoice,” and advertised a white supremacist group at the bottom. The student paper The Eagle devoted no less than four articles to the story.
The last of those articles repeats a refrain we’ve all seen many times before: A coalition of five Latinx (that’s college newspeak for “Latino”) student organizations aren’t happy with campus officials’ response to the posters. They specifically cited Vice President of Campus Life Fanta Aw’s message:
“I’m frustrated because, as of now, nothing has happened,” said student Erika Soto, a lead organizer of AU’s contingent at the “Clean DREAM Act” rally in November. “The school sent out an email, but I don’t think it was sufficient enough because no resources were provided for those students who were affected.”
The coalition issued a statement noting the flyers “deeply offended” the American U. Latino community, and that Aw’s email response was not “thorough enough.”
The statement indicates the coalition expects the following from American:
–Reiteration of the mental health resources available on campus to those students who were affected by the incident
–An increased and strengthened relationship between the student body and University Police, in order to ensure all students and communities feel secure within the AU campus
–A scheduled meeting with members of University Leadership to address the growing concerns regarding issues of safety and support for the Latinx community
The groups also place blame on the Trump administration:
“Now more than ever, the community has to unite while the current presidential administration is pushing an anti-immigration agenda,” the leaders wrote.
The Eagle attended the drafting session of the statement Monday night. [The League of United Latin American Citizens’ Rafael] Cestero said his initial reaction to the posters was “outrage.”
“I was angered and in disbelief that this happened at a university that I think does, in general, fight for the best of what America has to offer,” Cestero said. “But, I am not surprised by the posters in the current political climate.”
Romina Martin, the president of AU’s LULAC chapter, also attended the meeting where the statement was drafted. When she was 9-years old, Martin said, she and her family came to the U.S. from Peru for a better life.
“We came here for a better future and you know, to send out that email, it made our experiences invalid,” Martin said. “My mom and I are [now] both citizens and we have that privilege, so I can only imagine how the posters that were up affected the undocumented community.”
Student Liz Rivas Villnaueva also chimed in on the alleged “invalidity” that Martin mentions:
“The fact that this issue is being ignored by the school in one simple email like hours after the incident happened really raises the question if AU stands with our immigrant community. And as a student, I feel like it doesn’t.”