Students of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter attempted to start a conversation about race and immigration by putting up posters.
They read: "A notice to all white Americans, it is your civic duty to report any and all illegal aliens to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They are criminals. America is a white nation."
It did not go over well.
When students saw the signs hanging in the social science and technology buildings on Monday, they took them at face value and ripped them down. Word soon spread throughout the closed student Facebook group Overheard at Gustavus.
As it turns out, the posters weren’t the work of white supremacists. They were part of an awareness campaign by the school’s Diversity Leadership Council, a student-run organization, in collaboration with social justice theater group I Am We Are.
The Diversity Leadership Council said in an apology that its intention was to “educate our peers and campus community about issues of bias, and the importance of being an active bystander.”
“We want to help put an end to bias-related incidents that happen on our campus, social media, and in our communities by forcing individuals to have dialogues about forms of hate and bias,” the statement continues. “We hope that members of the campus community will reflect on today’s events and join us in ensuring that no one student or group of students are ever a victim of this form of discrimination.”
If the Gustavus student body’s immediate disgust is any indication, this strange social experiment proved that their peers are probably doing just fine.
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