University officials respond to anti-Trump fliers on campus
Fliers depicting violence against fascists and damage to President Donald Trump supporters’ property began appearing around campus early last week and were posted on the Overheard at UNC Facebook page on Tuesday.
The fliers show someone setting fire to a “Make America Great Again” hat on one side of the page. On the opposite side, they show someone with a swastika tattoo being beaten on the head with a bat that reads “Bash the Fash.”
Chancellor Carol Folt sent out a statement Thursday denouncing the fliers.
“We take these matters very seriously,” Folt’s message said.
“The flyer and its message are the antithesis of the values that are the foundation of our University ... Its intentions are to incite violence, and there is no place for that here or in our society.”
Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs, said the University decided to release the statement because the fliers incited people to violence.
“That’s not something we can ever abide by,” Crisp said.
UNC spokesperson Randy Young said since the fliers appeared, campus police have not seen a notable change in reports or complaints of threats against people based on their political affiliation. He said the Department of Public Safety is investigating the situation and encourages the campus community to share any information they may have.
First-year Kayla Dowdy said she found out about the posters when her grandma called asking about them. She said she thinks the fliers are protected by freedom of speech but were unnecessary.
“I don’t think violence should ever be used to promote anything,” Dowdy said.
“There are other ways to get around what your message was, and I don’t think that that was the best way to do it.”
Junior Susi Golsteyn said she was initially shocked by the fliers, but she was glad Folt released a statement about them.
“It was such a message that I just didn’t expect to be in a campus like this — that claims to be so open to everybody’s ideas and so supportive of people,” Golsteyn said. “It was just too violent. It was a message that was just bad, horrible.”
Sophomore Chris Zammit said people should have open communication and dialogue, and violence is not the answer to solving an issue.
“We live in a free country, so everyone should be able to decide what their values are,” Zammit said.
“Just because we disagree with someone’s values doesn’t mean that we should outwardly abuse them or lead to violence. We can just disagree with them, maybe challenge their views and have discussions.”
None of the three students said they saw the fliers on campus — only on social media platforms.