‘Racist stickers’ found in Student Center

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Even before the presidential election results catapulted the country into chaos and protests, hints of racial tensions were brewing on DePaul’s campus. The day before the election, Vice President of Student Affairs Gene Zdziarski and Vice President of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity Elizabeth Ortiz sent out a joint statement to the DePaul community acknowledging “racist stickers” that were posted in the first-floor men’s room of the Student Center. According to the statement, the stickers “promoted a fringe political group” and “Student Center staff removed the stickers immediately.”

When The DePaulia contacted Public Safety about what exactly these stickers said, they responded with the following statement: “We do not want to repeat the wording because to do so would inflict the harm that was intended.”

The stickers found in the Student Center follow a string of racially charged events at DePaul, including the noose and chalk messages targeting Mexicans found on campus this May.

But DePaul is in no way unique in this sense, and following President-elect Donald Trump’s successful campaign there has been a surge of reportings across the U.S. of acts targeting racial and religious minorities.

On Nov. 9, the Muslim Student Association prayer room at New York University was defaced with “Trump” written in black Sharpie. That same day, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s student newspaper reported that someone chalked the words “F— your safe space,” “Trump” and “Build a wall” outside of the library. At Canisius College in New York, a black doll was found hanging from a curtain rod in a dormitory following the announcement of Trump’s victory.

On Nov. 10, officials at the University of Pennsylvania announced that a University of Oklahoma student has been suspended for targeting black students in a group titled “N— Lynching” on the popular messaging app GroupMe. These messages — sent under the pseudo name “Daddy Trump” — included an image of a lynching captioned “I love America.”

President-elect Donald Trump speaks on Nov. 9, 2016. (Evan Vucci / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

President-elect Donald Trump speaks on Nov. 9, 2016. (Evan Vucci / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

And some of the incidents turned violent. On Nov. 9, San Diego State University sent out a community safety alert detailing how a Muslim female student was attacked by two men “who made comments about President-Elect Donald Trump and the Muslim community.” According to the safety alert, the men stole her car keys, fled the scene and when police arrived the victim’s car was already gone.

The events following Trump’s win have in part sparked the protests against his nomination across the country. Unfortunately, some of these protests — like one in Portland — have turned violent. For DePaul junior Milton Olivares, this should have been expected.

“I can’t say that I’m surprised at any of the backlash from the anti-Trump constituents (…) whether it be violent or nonviolent,” he said. “I agree with what they’re doing. We feel endangered.”

DePaul junior Mario Garza believes that the anti-Trump protesters’ cause is counterproductive and prevents starting a dialogue between those with opposing political views.

“I fear being unable to express my support for Trump due to being one of the few people on campus that supports him,” Garza said. “My viewpoints aren’t welcomed and I am being oppressed for my political beliefs.”

Garza believes creating “safe spaces” at DePaul only furthers this polarization.

“A ‘safe space’ will do no good as it will not allow there to be an opportunity to fully communicate and foster community growth by allowing students to challenge each others’ viewpoints to diversify their outlook and get a better understanding of the other person’s thoughts (and) beliefs,” he said. “We need to be able to effectively communicate with each other to understand each other. Then, we will find a common ground and be able to live (and) work together better.”

Olivares is unsure of what will come and how we will resolve the deep political divide at DePaul and across the U.S.

“Honestly, there’s really no telling (what the future looks like) at this point,” he said. “Because people didn’t think he could be the president, and look at him now. He’s the (president-elect).”