Schools label White Student Union groups as hoaxes, organizers fear backlash
- Since November 18, more than 33 "White Student Union" pages have surfaced on Facebook.
- Some schools have ordered the pages to be shut down over assumptions that the groups are nothing more than hoaxes and not connected with the schools.
- Anonymous students have begun to come forward to take ownership of some of the groups but fear backlash if their identities are revealed.
A “White Student Union” page surfaced on Facebook after a Nov. 18 “Black Student Solidarity Rally” at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since then, at least 33 other “White Student Union” pages affiliated with various universities have been created, according to research conducted by The College Fix.
The original “Illinois White Student Union” page was taken down within hours of its creation after administration condemned the page as “disturbing” and “cowardly.”
“When we became aware of the page, we immediately contacted Facebook and requested that it be removed,” Robin Kaler, a campus spokeswoman, told The Daily Illini in an email.
A new version of the page was later reposted.
Some have speculated that the “White Student Union” pages are a hoax and an effort to stroke already heated racial tensions on campuses across the country.
Janina Montero, vice chancellor of student affairs at UCLA, told the Daily Bruin that people unaffiliated with UCLA probably manage the Facebook group. Montero, according to the Bruin, is suspicious of the group because identical Facebook pages surfaced at other universities at the same time.
According to The Washington Post, a similar statement was put out by the chancellor of UC Berkeley calling the Facebook page “part of a national effort” and one that “did not emanate” from the student body.
The Boston Globe featured a similar story that called a “White Student Union” Facebook page at the University of Massachusetts Amherst “a hoax.” According to The Globe, Emily O’Neil, a student trustee, said “no such organization exists at UMass Amherst, despite purposefully misleading posts on the page that would indicate otherwise.”
“The page was likely created by part of a national campaign by Internet trolls who seek to make students around the country feel unsafe where they live and learn,” O’Neil added.
However, despite efforts to pin the blame on internet trolls, some students have come forward as members of the groups in question.
According to The Daily Wire, at least four students have taken credit for the organization of “White Student Union” Facebook pages. The students, according to The Wire, have chosen to remain anonymous due to death threats the groups have received.
Jill, a “White Student Union” student organizer at the University of Missouri, told The Wire that her campus club has been receiving death threats since it started.
An organizer of the UCLA “White Student Union,” which was shut down because it was believed to be a hoax, told The Wire he fears making the organization an official campus club out of fear of jeopardizing a faculty member’s career.
“For a club to become official I think it requires three full-time students and sponsorship from a professor,” the student said. “I do not believe that a professor would be willing to put his career on the line for something like this and I do not wish such jeopardy upon anyone's career at UCLA.”
Another student organizer at the University of Central Florida told The Wire he was inspired by the “White Student Union” club formed at the University of Illinois.
A student at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where the initial controversy began, said “white people are getting restless and tired of becoming the minority.”
“We very quickly are approaching that point and we are waking up to an extremely grim future in the USA and Europe.”
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