Officials at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) say they may have found the student responsible for a series of "hateful and biased" fliers which appeared across campus earlier this week.
The fliers, which were reportedly seen inside the university's engineering school and student center, purported to offer a “special class to teach Chinese more about ethics,” which does not exist. It then asked students a series of questions, including “Did you know copying someone’s intellectual property is actually stealing their work and is against the law? We know it isn’t bad in your culture.”
The incident is being reviewed under the school’s hate and bias policy, according to a tweet from university president Greg Fenves. The school has taken the posters down.
“Such posters are completely unacceptable,” Fenves said in a statement. “Consistent with UT Austin’s core values, every student, faculty member and staff member who sets foot on our campus has the right to learn, teach and work without fear and without being the object of hate and discrimination.”
Gregory J. Vincent, the university’s vice president for diversity and community engagement, also spoke out against the incident, referring to others that had also occurred this academic year. “Like those earlier this semester which threatened the safety of our Muslim, immigrant and Latino students, these anonymous posters are inconsistent with our campus values and are counterproductive to true campus dialogue,” he said in a statement.
Students on campus took to social media to express their hurt and anger over the fliers. “I was born in China and lived there for more than 20 years,” UT Austin student Echo Li said on Facebook. “ I have seen and experienced the diversity of different cultures. Some I love, some I don't understand but I respect. We can't get everything we see, but we have to respect the rights of others.”
The university’s student government and Chinese Student Association also issued a joint statement on Tuesday condemning the incident and thanking the university for its swift response. “We are deeply saddened and angered by this act of discrimination,” the statement read. “These posters do not represent Chinese culture or traditions, nor the UT students who so proudly honor their country and heritage.”