A Facebook page claiming to be the University of Florida White Students Union was created Sunday.
The page posted it "aims to defend cultural diversity, partially by defending European culture and traditions." Some UF students have posted critiques of the page on its wall and in comments on the page’s posts.
As of press time, the page has 84 likes. UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes wrote in an email there is no student organization at UF registered with the name "White Students Union."
Sikes said the page was using the UF logo without permission, and the Office of University Relations reported the illegal use of it to Facebook. The page changed its profile photo from the UF logo to Century Tower on Monday at about noon.
UF Black Student Union president Phillip Wells said he wasn’t surprised when the page went up on Facebook.
Wells, a UF telecommunication senior, began receiving text messages from BSU members about the page Sunday night. He said he’s seen other universities with similar groups.
The 21-year-old said UF organizations like BSU and the Hispanic Student Association were formed to support communities that weren’t largely represented at UF. He believes the page was made in retaliation to those organizations.
"We as students can’t stop anyone from starting their own group or organization if they felt the need to," he said, "but I personally don’t think (the page is) necessary, being at a predominately white institution."
UF’s Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Kay Carodine said UF is working to get the page to remove its affiliation to UF. She said other white student union pages for other universities had appeared over the weekend.
The University of Florida White Students Union page declined to comment. It wrote in a Facebook message that it was receiving death threats.
NC State University White Student Union did not respond to a request for comment, and UNC Students for a White Student Union declined to comment over phone or email.
UF chemical engineering sophomore Matthew Bizer said he suspected the UF page was a hoax after noticing the other universities’ pages. He said he wrote this on the page, but it was deleted by the page’s administrators.
"I don’t think they’re UF students," the 19-year-old said. "I think it’s some outside group that wants to rile up some sort of sentiment against Black Lives Matter and against refugees and immigrants on campuses."
Bizer said a student union is not something white people need.
"We don’t have a subculture; we have the predominant culture," he said. "That’s not how it should be, but it’s how it is."
Contact Alexandra Fernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @alexmfern
"White Student Union" Facebook pages are popping up at other universities, too. These are a few of the schools with pages:
- Florida International University
- University of Central Florida
- University of Mississippi
- University of Missouri
- Michigan State University