Immigration fliers spark outrage at St. John Fisher College

January 23, 2018 12:46 AM

Administrators and student activists at St. John Fisher College condemned fliers that appeared on campus Monday morning containing the language of feminist activists for a message on illegal immigration.  

"For them to be coming on campus and spewing this hatred becomes dangerous," said Alex Willmes with the school's Feminist Alliance.  "It's just dangerous for the overall climate and the education that is supposed be spread here."  

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The flier  features a map of the United States depicted with a fearful face and crossed arms as a hand reaches threateningly from outside.  It includes the popular anti-rape slogan "no means no" and the hashtag #mybordersmychoice.

A statement from St. John Fisher says the fliers were discovered about 10 am on Monday and that "the College has taken immediate steps to recover and remove the flyers."

Student activists said they suspect off-campus white supremacists and pointed to warnings from the self-described anarchist website  that predicted the flier campaign.  

"These sorts of ideals, and these sorts of instigations are something," said St. John Fisher student Brittney Bender with the school's Gay-Straight Alliance.  "Who knows who could want to believe in this stuff?"

On Twitter, the hashtag #mybordersmychoice leads to a series of exhortations to post the flier on the night of January 21, Sunday, and offers printable versions of the flier in multiple languages.

American Studies professor Jenna Rossi agreed that the material was probably posted by someone off-campus but said the incident could also be an opportunity to open up communication between communities. 

 "There is a pretty large percentage of the country that feels really frustrated now," she said.  

The school's diversity coalition quickly planned a series of activities to respond to the flier, including listening sessions on Wednesday and a town hall meeting on Thursday.   

"To me, what happened is really disturbing," Rossi said, "but what we do with it is actually more important and how we show our students, how students show their peers, how we respond to it in order to educate and create dialogue and get information out there." 

An email from St John Fisher President Gerard Rooney to students and staff calls the messages "inappropriate" and says "we are committed to making members of this community feel welcomed and safe."


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