NKU students respond to racially charged flier for "White Week"

Posted at 10:28 PM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-07 19:55:50-04

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. -- An unauthorized, racially charged mock flier for a "Welcome White Week" drew NKU students and faculty together Tuesday for a demonstration against racial intolerance on campus.

Welcome Black Week is a week-long series of events that introduce incoming freshmen to organizations and programs that focus on the black experience. NKU is far from the only campus to host a Welcome Black Week; Oklahoma State University, UC Boulder and the University of San Diego, among others, all include one as part of their campus calendar.

These events can be important to black students attending classes on majority white campuses where they may feel out of place or lost in a crowd. 

"It's still something that is a very big culture shock noticing there aren't that many of us minorities here on this campus," said Trey Underwood, president of the African-American student organization Rocks.

However, they are not only for black students to attend.

"Anyone can come out," said student James Johnson. "We are more than willing to have anyone come out to events, and we would like to see more people of diverse ethnic groups come to our events.

NKU's Welcome Black Week ended Sept. 2; the second flier appeared Sept. 6. Its design was nearly identical, but its content was very different -- and calculated as an anonymous jab at the aforementioned event.

Where Welcome Black Week included a formal reception with African American Studies and Programs faculty and a Black Student Union BBQ, the Welcome White Week flier suggests three days of mock events such as "White Lives Matter vs. Black Lives Matter," "Pizza Party for Tolerance" and "L.G.B.T.Q.R.S.T.U.V. and You," each of them apparently deriding the message of Welcome Black Week and of other minority student organizations. 

"I was just very shocked by the mockery that was made of us," said student Sierra Longmire.

A peaceful student-led demonstration on campus Tuesday brought students out to share their stories of marginalization at NKU and faculty out to address the issue, according to NKU's student newspaper The Northerner.

The university's official Twitter account said the flier was not endorsed by any campus authority or organization and that Student Affairs would be investigating its source.