Students and administrators at the University of Texas in Austin are condemning a number of racist posters aimed at Chinese students that popped up on campus.
The flyers, which were posted at the university’s engineering school and student center, advertised for a “special class to teach Chinese more about ethics,” followed by an offensive list of questions:
Did you know copying someone else’s intellectual property is actually stealing their work and its against the law? We know it isn’t bad in your culture.
Did you know faking yourself and your skills, when you are applying for a job or graduate school, is against the law?
Did you know burping and farting are unethical? We know they aren’t bad in your culture, Oopse! [sic]
WE WILL TEACH YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The school’s Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement Dr. Gregory Vincent called the posters’ content “grossly inaccurate and inflammatory assertions about our Chinese and Chinese American students.”
As the Huffington Post pointed out, the timing is especially suspect given that the university had just released a Diversity and Inclusion Plan aimed at creating “an inclusive community that fosters an open and supportive learning, teaching, and working environment” less than a week prior to the posters’ appearance on campus.
Students condemned the flyers on social media.
“I’d never thought that racism could occur on the UT campus — dear friends and family, this has really touched a bottom line of civility,” one student wrote on Facebook, as translated by Mashable. “Everyone deserves the right to equality. Fuck racism.”
Another student wrote on Facebook: “We have to respect the rights of others. I still hesitate to use the word Racist or Discrimination because it’s so painful and it’s not something we expect to happen nowadays.”
In a statement, UT Austin President Greg Fenves said the flyers were being taken down, and called them “completely unacceptable.” He thanked the “scores” of students who reported them to campus authorities.
“Consistent with UT Austin’s core values, every student, faculty member and staff member who sets foot on our campus has the right to learn, teach and work without fear and without being the object of hate and discrimination,” Fenves said in the statement.
According to a Chinese Students and Scholars Association update, the incident is believed to be the act of one individual, not an organization.
Fenves tweeted that administrators may have identified a student responsible for the posters, and are investigating the student under the university’s new Hate and Bias policy, released earlier this year.
The new policy states that discriminatory and hateful actions “will be punished rapidly and with greater consequences than in the past.”