Several posters reading “It’s OK to be white” were put up around a community college in Vancouver, Washington.
Clark College says the signs first started appearing on campus in early November, with the first-round coinciding with a white pride rally on an Interstate 5 freeway overpass in Vancouver.
Since then, more flyers have been posted that read “Make your ancestors proud” and “Never feel guilty for our nation’s history” in front of images of white pioneers.
As recently as Monday morning, a handwritten “It’s OK to be white” note was taped outside Clark College’s Office of Diversity and Equity.
“It feels quite intended to intimidate, intended to instill fear,” said Loretta Capeheart, associate vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Clark College.
Since she started working at Clark College in June, Capeheart has seen five similar bias-based incidents on campus, including hate graffiti in the men’s restrooms and a swastika etched into the sidewalk.
“This is why we’re trying to come together across communities of color to say we’re not going to be fearful,” Capeheart added.
It’s unknown who posted the flyers at Clark College, but some worry it could be a recruiting tactic for local white supremacist groups.
“My initial thought was not here,” Dolly England said with a sigh of frustration.
England is Clark College’s diversity outreach manager and is in charge of recruiting diverse faculty and staff to work for Clark College. Of the 16,054 students who attend the community college, England said about a third are students of color.
“It is our job to create a safe space for everyone,” said England, who admits to feeling a little on edge after seeing the flyers and signs keep reappearing. “It seems more malicious and is just really disheartening.”
The Washington Post reports similar posters have circulated on several college campuses, including the University of Utah and Tulane University.
Clark College is planning two meetings this week for the public to engage in a community discussion about the campus incidents. The first is Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. in GHL 213 and the second meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. in PUB 258A.