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University repudiates, investigates racist flyers found around campus before O-Week

By Anna Ta     8/18/19 4:46pm

Rice University students and staff members found offensive flyers in at least two locations around campus on Thursday, prompting a Rice University Police Department investigation and a response from President David Leebron via Twitter. New students arrive this weekend for Orientation Week. 

According to RUPD, the flyers, which use racist rhetoric, were posted on the Entrance 20 sign and in the vicinity of Will Rice and Baker colleges.

Cordero Lopez, a McMurtry College sophomore, tweeted about the flyers later that day, encouraging the university administration to respond.

“I’m utterly disgusted and I’m heartbroken,” Lopez wrote. “I can’t believe someone thought this was funny. This kind of talk comes from a place of evil, and those who propagate it have absolutely no soul whatsoever.”

Leebron directly responded to the tweet, noting that in addition to those on Entrance 20, two other flyers had been found and removed on campus. He also shared facts of RUPD’s ongoing investigation and noted that the flyers appear to be duplicates of those posted by an American neo-Nazi organization in several Seattle-area churches and synagogues. According to ABC 13, the posters originated from the white supremacist hate group Daily Stormer.

“This is indeed disgusting,” Leebron wrote. “It would be so at any time and any place, but especially offensive just before our new students arrive.”

Others took note as well, posting about the flyers on Rice-affiliated Facebook pages. At Will Rice, Santiago Garcia spoke to the advising team about how the appearance of the flyers could affect the new students. 

“New students should be aware that this kind of behavior is really not tolerated at Rice,” Garcia, a Will Rice senior, said. “While Rice [can be] a haven for some students to just be themselves, this kind of thing happening may seem to discredit or tarnish that. But I have honestly felt very happy and accepted here despite my own background [as a DACA student] and while these things can happen, Rice seems to always work on making all of its students feel comfortable and welcome.”

Garcia said he is optimistic that O-Week will help reassure new students that they belong at Rice. 

“At the end of the day, I don't think the mood of Rice will change,” Garcia said. “Rather new students coming in may be more cautious about everything, which should be able to be eased by the advisors doing their jobs.”

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