UCLA students reported seeing the above posters on signboards down BruinWalk at approximately 11:00 AM on Thursday, November 12th, 2015. Additional posters were found plastered along an electric street box on the corner of Strathmore and Gayley. At the time of this publication, no one has claimed responsibility for distributing this material. In the past year, posters similar to this one have surfaced across UCLA’s campus, integrating similar graphic imagery with propaganda aimed against Students for Justice in Palestine. These past instances were claimed by conservative writer David Horowitz.
These posters were also discovered on bulletin boards at UC San Diego’s campus, along with another poster defaming the Muslim Student Association (pictured below). The simultaneous appearance of these posters across different UC campuses signals that these efforts are strategic. Coupled with similar incidents in the past academic year, it is clear that these posters are showing up frequently across campuses and at regular intervals.
As academics, we believe that the right to free speech is critical in fostering an environment that allows room for differing ideologies. With that responsibility, however, comes the need to identify and condemn hate speech which defames specific identities, specifically as it correlates to a climate of incitement. Instead of addressing the ongoing occupation of Palestine, this recent iteration of slandering imagery only seeks to spread fear and conflate student activism with violence. It is grossly irresponsible and bars students from engaging in critical discussions, which serve a vital role in maintaining the free-flow of ideas at the university level. Intimidating a specific group of students will not limit their activism or curb their learning and is a desperate measure to counter the growing awareness and education surrounding Palestine.
Spreading vitriol in the form of violent anti-Arab and Islamophobic tropes is unacceptable and must be immediately addressed and actively condemned. SJP at UCLA calls upon the campus community to not let this be another instance where bigotry against Palestinians, Arabs and/or Muslims is tacitly condoned.
Vice Chancellors Kang, Vice Chancellor Montero, and Dean Blandizzi have all been contacted and it is our hope that administration will release a statement condemning this form of hate speech and take the appropriate measure of launching an investigation about the distribution of these posters. Student safety is a component fundamental to thoughtful academic engagement and a violation of this safety goes against our university’s standards.
If students witness other incidents of hate speech, please note the time and location of the occurrence, and contact UCPD by phone at (310) 825-1491 or by email at email@example.com. SJP at UCLA is archiving these incidents and would appreciate help with the process. Please send in documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, we encourage students to utilize the following services:
CSO escorts are available from dusk until 1 AM to walk students from any location on campus. Students should call 15 minutes before they need to leave. The number to contact them is (310) 794-WALK.
CSO evening vans run from Monday through Thursday, from 6pm to 11pm and will drop students off at the nearest intersection to their apartment. The number to contact them is (310) 825-1493.
More information on these services is available here.