Fordham University students protested against “white supremacy” Monday, specifically citing an incident in which conservative students tried to buy coffee while wearing MAGA gear.
Fordham Students United (FSU), “an intersectional coalition of student leaders, activists, faculty & alumni,” staged the March 12 protest in an effort to “bring social justice on campus,” writing on the Facebook page for the demonstration that “white supremacy” is present on campus but the administration has “failed to publicly denounce it.”
The Fordham Ram reports that the protest, clocking in at an hour and a half, consisted of students shouting chants of “hate speech is not free speech” and marching with signs stating that “Racism is a Social Sin” and “White Supremacy Kills.”
“Fordham’s policies and protection of white supremacy is putting people at risk,” one student shouted into a megaphone, with another claiming that the goal of the protest was to inspire a response from the administration.
“We just want to call on the school to directly address that there is a problem of white supremacy on campus, to denounce it, and to hold the people who are propagating this message accountable,” student Reyna Wang told the Ram, while another claimed that she is “literally scared” by the situation.
As evidence of the white supremacy on campus, the protesters referenced a recent incident in which the president of a student group that runs an on-campus coffee house was disciplined for demanding that members of the school’s College Republicans chapter leave because their pro-Trump apparel violated the shop’s “Safer Space Policy.”
Fordham, notably, sanctioned both the president of the coffee house as well as the student who recorded the encounter, but the FSU protesters were still disappointed in the outcome, saying the College Republicans demonstrated “threatening behavior” by showing up at the coffee shop in MAGA gear and expecting to be served like normal customers.
The group also argues in its Facebook page that the College Republicans “set her (the president) up to be a target of harassment by national right-wing news and its followers.”
Additionally, the Facebook page points to a a student’s social media post featuring the “flag of Kekistan,” an alt-right symbol, as further evidence of the need to protest white supremacy.
FSU contends that the alt-right flag, patterned on the Nazi German war ensign, is “a symbol of white nationalism,” but ignored the student paper’s discovery that nine of the 10 students pictured were unaware of what the flag was and what it stood for.
“Fordham's response, or lack thereof, to these events shows that the only free speech Fordham is willing to protect is the violent and racist rhetoric that actively targets and threatens students of color, LGBTQ+ folks, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, and other minority groups,” the Facebook page for the protest concludes.
In response to the protests, Director of Communications Bob Howe told the Ram that as much as “the administration would like to protect the university community from hate speech, we are not insulated from the culture around us, a culture that is increasingly divisive and in some cases openly hateful.”