In what appeared to be a sudden growth in interest in a White Student Union, Facebook pages sprung up indiscriminately two weeks ago, claiming to represent college campuses across the country.
A Facebook page called, A White Student Union for the University of Minnesota, was created. The University of Minnesota has criticized the page, and it has since been removed. Administration thinks a student didn’t make it.
According to an official University statement, the page was not created by or involved with any University students. The page “appears to have been created for inflammatory purposes by outsiders,” and the University requested its removal, the statement said.
University officials refused to comment on the page.
The statement said “the page misrepresents the University and our core commitments to diversity and the creation of a respectful University climate.”
A post on the group’s Facebook says, “Currently at the University of Minnesota, there is a Black Student Union, an Asian-American Student Union, a La Raza Student Cultural Center but for too long peoples of European descent have been held voiceless and without representation.”
Erik Dussault, the assistant director of Student Unions and Activities, which handles student groups on campus, said there have been no inquiries or requests into the creation of a White Student Union by any University student.
David Melendez a member of the unofficial student group Whose Diversity? said cultural and ethnic groups on campus are designed as spaces and forums for students that historically weren’t allowed to be at the University and who underwent struggle to be allowed into University.
“The problem with a White Student Union is that it appropriates the language and the ideas of these movements of without necessarily understanding the logic that called them into being,” Melendez said.
SUA was originally alerted to the page by Minnesota Student Association vice president, Abeer Syedah.
Syedah said she notified administration about the page because she believed it was likely illegitimate.
Other Universities around the country, like the University of Chicago and Portland State
University, also had White Student Union pages created at around the same time.
Syedah said she found comments connecting their creation to one person. She said the comments were from students at other schools who claimed the creator of their school’s page was the same as the University’s.
“I knew this would be inflammatory and cause people pain and anger, and I wanted to negate that as quickly as possible … to let people know this is a thing that shouldn’t exist and doesn’t exist,” said Syedah.
Javaris Bradford, the president of the Black Student Union was also contacted about the page by several people over Facebook.
Initially, Bradford said he believed the page to be a fake, created to incite a response. He said he was shocked with the speed of the University’s response to the page.
Overall, he said he was happy with the way the page was handled.
The University’s statement said that though the page’s creator may be exercising their free speech, the school asked the page to be removed.