Purdue prez accused of 'silence' after condemning flyers...twice

Students and faculty alike are demanding that Purdue University President Mitch Daniels respond to white supremacist flyers that appeared on campus, even though he has already issued two statements on the matter.

The flyers, put up by a white nationalist group called “American Vanguard,” reportedly bear the message “We Have a Right to Exist,” and spurred an impromptu demonstration last week, followed by a pre-planned rally Monday.

[RELATED: Iowa condemns 'offensive' flyers protesting anti-white racism]

According to a local reporter, the protesters are demanding a response from the administration, despite the fact that Daniels has unambiguously condemned the circulation of white nationalist flyers on his campus—twice.

Almost immediately following the incident, The Lafayette Journal & Courier reports Daniels released a statement in which he asserts that although the wording used in the flyers was ambiguous, the “views expressed” on the organization’s website “are obviously inconsistent with the values and principles we believe in here at Purdue.”

[RELATED: Purdue pres. reaffirms free speech in wake of Mizzou, Yale controversies]

“This is a transparent effort to bait people into overreacting, thereby giving a minuscule fringe group attention it does not deserve, and that we decline to do,” he went on to rightly predict, even as activists rallied to demand an even stronger response while scoffing at the suggestion that the additional attention might be just what American Vanguard is after.

Daniels indulgently issued a second statement the following morning, explaining that “each person can choose the language he or she thinks best meets an occasion like this,” but “Purdue University’s opposition to racism in all its forms couldn’t be more clear, both from yesterday’s statement and a host of others that preceded it.”

[RELATED: USC student govt. demands $20M diversity budget, tuition freeze]

On Monday, however, students and faculty followed through on their vow to hold another protest outside Daniels’ office, where they exclaimed that his purported “silence helps the racists,” the Journal & Courier reports.

One student even challenged Daniels to “unequivocally and passionately denounce fascism and white supremacy,” saying “that’s what a leader does.”

Daniels, in a third statement, naturally contested to protesters’ allegations, pointing out that he had, in fact, already denounced the flyers on two separate occasions, and that he even included an affirmation of Purdue’s opposition to discrimination and harassment in his annual letter to the school community.

“That’s an odd definition of silence,” he remarked.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski