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Friday, February 26, 2021

Pro-white fliers found on campus prompt UF response


UF officials and University Police are taking steps after multiple complaints were made about pro-white and anti-racism fliers placed across UF’s campus.

Three fliers reading “Tired of anti-white propaganda in college? You aren’t alone” were reported on campus between Saturday and Monday, UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said. They were found at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, the Murphree Hall parking lot and Ustler Hall.

At the bottom of the fliers was a link to The Right Stuff, an anti-Semitic blog with an affiliated podcast that created the “parenthesis meme,” in which Jewish names are surrounded by parentheses, often in order to target them for online abuse on social media.

Sikes said the university does not know who put them up, or how many had been placed around campus.

The fliers were a breach of UF regulations, though no criminal laws were violated, she said. Fliers can only be put up on UF bulletin boards.

At least six complaints were made, some to University Police and some to UF President Kent Fuchs.

Following the incident, UPD has increased patrols and is encouraging people to report any incidents they see.

Fuchs released a statement at about 4 p.m. Monday stating the university is committed to inclusion and that he finds the message offensive.

“With politics and differing points of view leading to heightened frustrations and concerns across the nation and in Gainesville, I reaffirm that our university is a caring and diverse community that celebrates and embraces students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, and we are firmly committed to supporting all members of our community,” Fuchs said. “I denounce any statements and symbols that hurt or disparage others.”

Turlington Plaza and the Plaza of the Americas are free speech zones at UF for those who wish to express their thoughts and opinions, Sikes said.

“We absolutely encourage when you’re upset about free speech, we encourage free speech,” Sikes said.

Anti-racism fliers were also posted around campus reading “Many colors one working class. Smash racism. No safe zone for Nazis, Racists, Gay Bashers and Anti-Immigrant Xenophobes.”

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Going forward, the university is looking for ways to increase diversity and inclusion, Sikes said.

A UF task force is considering creating a campuswide inclusion and diversity task force as well as having individual diversity officers.

“There are a number of conversations and discussions going on on how we actually meet those goals,” Sikes said.

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