The president of the College Republicans club said the group was unaffiliated with the incendiary posters, despite other students reporting this advertising was similar to fliers used previously by the club. The fliers caused backlash from the community and on social media.
The University of Minnesota’s new president, Joan Gabel, and university chancellor Michelle Behr made statements about the incidents on social media, saying they had heard student’s complaints. Administrators swiftly had the posters removed.
“While we embrace free expression, we also recognize that exercising this right comes with responsibility. Use of intentionally provocative speech impacts our campus and those targeted in the messaging, leading to individuals and student communities feeling invalidated, isolated, and unsafe. It isn’t acceptable to treat one another that way,” Behr wrote in a statement. “Let me assure you campus leaders take building an inclusive and respectful campus seriously and are taking action in this area. A group is already working on a campus climate evaluation and plan. There will be opportunities to share your thoughts on these issues throughout the year. I encourage each of you to participate.”
The discussion has quickly moved to one about freedom of speech, with the president of the UMM College Republicans taking this time to go after the use of preferred pronouns on campus and saying that free speech was under attack, according to the Star Tribune.