Here’s a Rundown of the Latest Campus-Climate Incidents Since Trump’s Election

Organizations that track hate crimes have seen a rise in reports since the presidential election. The Southern Poverty Law Center recently released two reports on hate-motivated incidents since the election. The first reveals that the center documented nearly 900 such incidents, many on college campuses, in the 10 days following the election of Donald J. Trump as president.

The second reveals that in a survey of 10,000 educators, largely at elementary and secondary schools, 90 percent said that their institution’s climate had been negatively affected by the election.

Many of the episodes, on campuses and off, involved references to President-elect Donald J. Trump. Here’s the latest:

December 13, 2016

The University of Maryland at College Park’s police department received reports on Sunday and Monday about the appearance of white-supremacist posters on campus buildings, according to The Diamondback, a student newspaper.

A police spokeswoman told The Diamondback that the posters constituted vandalism. “There’s no hate speech or threatening language telling people to do harm to any group,” she said. “It’s vandalism in the fact that whatever glue they used to stick it to the doors caused damage when they got removed.”

The posters were similar or identical to those that appeared at the University of Central Florida (see below under December 6) and at Purdue University in late November. As on the other campuses, the fliers at the University of Maryland named a white-supremacist group called American Vanguard. The organization’s Twitter account seemed to claim credit for the Central Florida posters, and recently retweeted an article about the Maryland incident.

The police at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and at Emerson College, in Massachusetts, are also investigating fliers from American Vanguard, multiple news outlets reported. The fliers, which appeared on both campuses in the last few weeks, were separately condemned by officials at the two institutions.

In a message posted to Twitter last week, the president of Texas State University, Denise M. Trauth, said fliers “encouraging readers to report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities” had been found around the campus and removed. In her statement, Ms. Trauth noted that the university “does not and will not” do so, in accordance with the law.

Last week Webster University officials told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch they believe a small group of students had created the racist and homophobic fliers that were found near a black student’s dormitory room in early December (see below under December 6). The Post-Dispatch reported that the investigation is continuing and that no arrests had been made.

A Facebook event page shows a solidarity march was planned for last Tuesday at the Missouri university. Though the fliers appear to have spurred the idea for the event, the page also called on administrators to increase faculty diversity, among other things.

More Swastikas

The campus police at Nassau Community College, in New York, announced last week that they had been dealing with a rash of anti-Semitic graffiti since October, Patch reports. Since the end of that month, police officers have found swastikas painted on the campus in at least four separate incidents, the latest of which was last week.

Meanwhile, a Jewish-studies lecturer at Northwestern University said he had been stopped while walking on the Illinois campus by a man in a car who asked if he was Jewish, The Daily Northwestern reported. When the lecturer confirmed that he was, the man gave him a Nazi salute and said “Heil Hitler” before driving away.

Other Incidents

A local churchgoer called the U.S. Department of Homeland Security when two Muslim students from Nazareth College visited the church for a class assignment, an NBC affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., reported. In a letter to students, the college’s president, Daan Braveman, said he was “very troubled and indeed angered” by the incident. He added: “I want to stress that Nazareth is committed to supporting our students, and I have met with the two students to reassure them of that support.” The students had been told to attend a religious service for a faith that’s not their own as part of a “Sociology of Religion” course, the NBC affiliate reported.

And an instructor at Orange Coast College, in California, has received death threats and has temporarily left the state after a video surfaced of her telling a class that the election of Donald J. Trump was an “act of terrorism,” The Orange County Register reported. The campus chapter of the College Republicans filed a complaint with the college after the video was made public, and the faculty member told the newspaper she had received more than 1,000 emails, phone calls, and Facebook comments about the incident.

A Lawyer Responds

The lawyer for a Babson College student is demanding an apology after his client was banned from the Massachusetts campus last month, the Boston Herald reports. The student is one of two who were banned pending an investigation into allegations that the pair shouted racist and homophobic slurs while driving through nearby Wellesley College’s campus on the morning after the election to celebrate Mr. Trump’s victory.

Babson lifted the ban on Sunday after an investigation revealed that the students had yelled “Trump 2016” and “Make America Great Again” but could not substantiate claims that they had shouted slurs. The lawyer told the newspaper that his client had been “badly defamed” by the college’s handling of the situation and might sue for defamation if Babson did not apologize.

December 6, 2016

Racist and anti-Semitic posters continue to crop up on campuses across the country. The latest is the University of Chicago, where fliers featuring a photo of Adolf Hitler and the words “No Degeneracy, No Tolerance, Hail Victory” were found on Monday. The Chicago Tribune reported that a neo-Nazi group had taken credit for the posters.

Last week a student-run news source,, reported that a group called American Vanguard had taken credit on social media for white-supremacist fliers that appeared at the University of Central Florida in late November. The News reported that students saw campus police officers removing the fliers and that a police review is underway. A few days later the campus’s College Democrats posted about 80 pro-diversity fliers in response, the News reported.

A picture posted to American Vanguard’s Twitter account showed several people holding up copies of the posters that appeared on the campus. Their faces are blacked out.


Last week a custodian at Webster University, in Missouri, found racist and homophobic fliers near an African-American student’s dormitory room, the student-run newspaper The Journal reported. A university statement said that the fliers featured about “a dozen messages repeatedly copied on approximately a hundred pieces of paper.” The custodian collected the fliers and reported the incident to the university’s residential-life department, the statement said, and the university is treating the incident as a hate crime.

A Firing, an Inquiry, a Bill, and a Backlash

The University of Colorado’s School of Medicine plans to “cut ties” with a faculty member who made a racist comment about the first lady, Michelle Obama, on Facebook, The Denver Post reported. The faculty member, Michelle Herren, responded to a post about Mrs. Obama with: “Monkey face and poor ebonic English!!! There! I feel better and am still not racist!!! Just calling it like it is!”

A spokesman for the medical school, in Denver, told the Post that the process to terminate Dr. Herren’s faculty appointment had begun. “She has expressed values that are at odds with ours, and she has compromised her ability to meet the teaching and patient-care mission of the School of Medicine,” the spokesman said.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Villanova University had ended an investigation into a report that a black female student was knocked over by unknown men yelling “Trump! Trump! Trump!” shortly after Election Day (see below under November 14).

A university spokesman told the Inquirer that the student does “not want to pursue the matter,” but he did not detail what, if any, information the university’s probe had revealed. (Read a Chronicle article on the aftermath of the incident at Villanova.)

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill, sponsored by Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, that would create a specific definition of anti-Semitism for the Department of Education to refer to when investigating whether an alleged crime violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Hill reported.

The Washington Post reported that Muslims students at Ohio State University are bracing for a backlash after a Somali student drove his car into a group of people on the campus and attacked others with a knife last month. Eleven people were injured, and the student was shot dead by a police officer.

“I felt heartbroken, and I am nervous a little bit about what happens next,” said Nabeel Alauddin, co-president of the university’s Muslim Student Association. “It was an attack on our student body, and when it comes to the community, I don’t separate us from the larger student body. But there’s some worry in that it makes things a little bit tense.”

November 29, 2016

Among the latest incidents, a Muslim student at the University of Washington suffered a concussion after someone threw a bottle at her head while she was walking on the campus this month. The student, who was wearing a hijab, reported the incident to the university police but no campus alert was sent out, The Seattle Times reported.

The police told the Times that due to the lack of a description of the suspect and no video evidence, they do not have much to go on. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, disappointed in the police response, is calling on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to get involved.

About a day after the election, a Lindenwood University student returned to her dormitory on the Missouri campus to find a row of shoes and coat hangers bisecting the room, according to The New York Times.

The student, whose parents had come to the United States illegally from Mexico, found a note atop the constructed “wall” signed by a classmate: “Trump won so here’s a little preview of what is to come #wall.” She posted photos of the “wall” and the note on Twitter with the caption: “I walked into my room and my heart aches with pain.”

A visiting professor of law at Harvard University received an anti-Semitic postcard at his office, The Dallas Morning News reported. The card mentioned the president-elect and and closed with a German phrase, used by the Nazis, that means “Jews out!”

White-supremacist fliers were posted on Miami University’s main campus before Thanksgiving, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. One poster said, “Tired of Anti-White Propaganda in college? You aren’t alone.” It had a QR code leading to a “racist, anti-Semitic website,” the Enquirer reported.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio university told the Enquirer that the posters, hung inside some academic buildings and around the campus, were being removed as they were found. “We are on a path to inclusive excellence,” the spokeswoman said, “and we intend to stay that path.”

Arizona State University, Iowa State University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of California at Los Angeles are among other institutions that have seen similar posters appear in the wake of the election.

Before Thanksgiving, four University of Kansas cheerleaders were suspended from their squad over a controversial social-media post (see below, under November 22). On Monday the Lawrence Journal-World reported that some legal experts said the university may have been too hasty in disciplining the cheerleaders.

“This is a classic example of ready, fire, aim — they punished these kids before they had any evidence,” a lawyer and adjunct faculty member who teaches a First Amendment class told the Journal-World. “Regardless of the results of the investigations, these kids have been convicted in the public already.”

November 22, 2016

Arizona State University has joined a string of colleges that have been plastered with racist or threatening fliers. A university official told The Arizona Republic he had seen one poster that said, “The age of white guilt is over!” He called it “saddening.”

The university said in a statement that student safety is a priority and that “ASU is a place where open debate can thrive and honest disagreements can be explored, but not when hateful rhetoric is used.”

Four University of Kansas cheerleaders were suspended from their squad after a photo captioned “KKK go trump” was posted to a female cheerleader’s Snapchat account, according to the Lawrence Journal-World. The other three cheerleaders, who are men, were pictured in the offending Snapchat wearing sweaters with the letter “K” for Kansas on the front.

Colleges, Associations, and Commentators Respond

Brown University isn’t the only campus that has had recent trouble with flags (see below, under November 18). According to a CBS affiliate, Hampshire College took the American flag down from the Massachusetts campus’s flagpole after it received a backlash for flying it at half-staff last week. And on Veterans Day, the flag was removed and burned, the affiliate reported. In a statement posted to Facebook, its president, Jonathan Lash, attributed the half-staff decision to the “current environment of escalating hate-based violence” and violent deaths occurring nationally and internationally.

“Some have perceived the action of lowering the flag as a commentary on the results of the presidential election,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, our efforts to inclusively convey respect and sorrow have had the opposite effect.”

A conservative nonprofit group, Turning Points USA, has started a controversial website called Professor Watchlist to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” Currently the list boasts nearly 200 names.

And a flurry of postelection statements have denounced the hate-based incidents that have occurred, particularly on college campuses. The statements have been issued by the American Association of University Professors, the Modern Language Association, and the Board of Directors of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, which reaffirmed an August statement on campus climate and inclusion.

November 18, 2016

An associate professor at Oberlin College on Thursday found an anti-Semitic note tucked behind a religious object at his home, a Cleveland television station reported. The professor told the police that a disturbance had woken him up, and he discovered the note, which read “GAS JEWS DIE.”

The note had been placed behind a mezuza, a small case containing scriptural verses that observant Jewish families attach to their front doorways.

Oberlin released a statement of support for the professor and said that such incidents “galvanize us in our resolve to fight bigotry and hatred wherever and whenever they occur.” The college this week announced that it had fired another professor over her anti-Semitic social-media postings.

Students at the University of California have reported hate crimes on two campuses. Two students said they had been spit on at the Berkeley campus by a man who yelled “racist and homophobic” things at them while they watched election coverage on the campus last week, Berkeleyside reported. And at the Santa Cruz campus, a female student said she had been harassed by three men who called out to her “in an offensive manner” and then threw a rock at her when she did not stop walking, a CBS affiliate reported. The student fled and was treated for minor injuries.

Northern Illinois University notified the police in DeKalb, Ill., after learning of a student’s social-media post saying he had been harassed by four men in a truck who shouted racial slurs at him. The student said he had observed a gun inside the car, but it wasn’t pointed at him, according to a university safety alert. And a picture posted to Twitter on Friday shows a man on the UC-Berkeley campus with swastikas painted on his body and a fake mustache reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s. The man is holding a sign that says, “Ask a Nazi,” and the tweet accompanying the photo says he was “harassing black students at Cal.”

A student at Utah Valley University tweeted out a photo of a sign she said had been posted in an academic building. The sign named President-elect Donald J. Trump and advised people to shut up about “Muslim Rights, Gay Rights, Illegal Immigrant Rights,” referring to those causes with a vulgar equivalent of “nonsense.”

Protests on Campuses

A demonstration at the University of Pittsburgh against Mr. Trump and various social ills turned violent on Thursday and culminated in the arrest of two protesters, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. In addition to Mr. Trump, the 100 or so demonstrators protested “student debt and a variety of social injustices,” the Post-Gazette reported.

Since the election, Brown University has had two flag-related incidents, the most recent of which was reported on Friday. The Providence Journal reported that a bench painted with an American-flag design had been marred with obscenities on Thursday, about a week after flags set out for Veterans Day were torn and damaged.

“As we stated earlier this week, vandalism to American flags is in direct opposition to Brown’s values,” a university spokesman told the Journal.

November 17, 2016

More controversial posters have cropped up, this time at Iowa State University, where similar fliers were found less than a month ago. The student-run Iowa State Daily reported that 15 “white heritage” posters surfaced on Tuesday at the campus, bearing a message similar to fliers found at the university in October. Racist or contentious fliers have appeared on many campuses since the election, including the University of California at Los Angeles and UC-Davis.

Two anti-Black Lives Matter demonstrators who showed up at the University of Oklahoma on Wednesday were countered by hundreds of student protesters, The Oklahoma Daily, the student newspaper there, reported.

“You have no place to be here,” the university’s president, David L. Boren, told the anti-Black Lives Matter men through a megaphone, according to the Daily.

A North Park University student reported finding threatening notes on her door and anonymous emails following the election, the NBC affiliate in Chicago reported. The notes mentioned President-elect Donald J. Trump and included homophobic slurs. The university would not confirm to the television station whether it was investigating the matter, but the Chicago police said that no report had been filed with them.

And at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, a student tweeted a photo of bathroom graffiti that mentioned the president-elect and used an ugly racial slur.

Colleges Respond

The president of Illinois State University, Larry H. Dietz, posted on Wednesday a letter on Facebook calling for respect and reconciliation. Three possible hate crimes have been reported near the campus since the election, and Mr. Dietz’s letter says he’s received emails from students asking that he send a message on the spate of “violence and slurs targeting individuals from underrepresented groups.”

In response to similar concerns, faculty members at Tufts University pledged in an op-ed published on Wednesday “to actively commit ourselves to social justice and principles of community, compassion, decency, and protection.” Their statement, published in the student-run Tufts Daily, asked that the university take several actions, including declaring the campus a sanctuary for undocumented students and professors, and providing “robust and ongoing provisions for the safety and well-being” of people on the campus.

November 16, 2016

A student has filed a complaint against an adjunct professor of accounting at Lehigh University, saying the faculty member targeted him and other nonwhite students in the class with condescending, racist remarks, a student newspaper, The Brown and White, reported. According to the student, an American of Mexican descent, the professor asked him the morning after the election if he was staying in the United States or going back to his country.

The student says the professor also asked a student of Indian heritage whether he’d stayed up late because his eyes “looked like slits.” When the student who filed the complaint told the professor that his comments were inappropriate, the faculty member said no one had ever complained about how he spoke before.

The university has opened an investigation into the matter.

An investigation has also been started at the University of Washington at Bothell, where officials are looking into reports that a group of men approached several Muslim women on the campus and tried to intimidate them into removing their hijabs, The Seattle Times reported. A statement released by the campus’s chancellor on Monday said that it would “not tolerate this kind of behavior.”

And finally, racist fliers have appears on a third campus — Southern Methodist University, where The Daily Campus reported they were found on Monday morning inside a dormitory and in an academic building. The same fliers, headlined “Why White Women Shouldn’t Date Black Men,” were found at the University of Oklahoma earlier this week (see below, under November 14) and at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in September. Southern Methodist’s president released a statement condemning the fliers.

Meanwhile, at the University of California at Los Angeles, fliers promoting a nonexistent “white students group” on the campus have been removed, officials told the Los Angeles Times.

Following Up

The father of the Ohio State University student caught on video pushing an anti-Trump protester down a flight of stairs (see below, under November 15) told The Columbus Dispatch that his son has Asperger’s syndrome, a disorder on the autism spectrum. The student who was pushed says he hopes that charges against his assailant will be dropped.

More than 100 people rallied and marched at the University of Michigan on Tuesday, chanting “No Trump, no racist, sexist U.S.A.,” the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, reported. Last Friday a student there was threatened by a man who told her he’d set her on fire with a lighter if she didn’t remove her hijab (see below, under November 14).

On Tuesday afternoon students at colleges across the country walked out of class in a demonstration to urge administrators to make their institutions sanctuary campuses, CNN reported. The definition of a sanctuary campus is not set in stone, but students are generally asking their colleges to publicly pledge to support undocumented students. According to a map released by protest organizers, students at 80 institutions pledged to participate.

November 15, 2016

A student was knocked down half a flight of stairs on Monday evening while he spoke to a crowd at an anti-Trump demonstration in the student union at Ohio State University. Video provided by The Lantern, a student publication at the university, shows another student running down the steps and shouting “You idiot!” before tackling Timothy Adams from behind and pitching him down the stairs.

Mr. Adams was not harmed in the assault, but he told The Lantern his bullhorn and glasses had been broken. The assailant was arrested and suspended by Ohio State.

The University of Kentucky has received at least nine reports of bias incidents since the election, a university spokesman told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday. Two violent incidents were referred to the university police — a Hispanic student who was pepper-sprayed and a Muslim student whose hijab was ripped off.

At Lebanon Valley College, in Pennsylvania, racist graffiti mentioning President-elect Trump was found outside the Women’s Services and Gender Resource Center, the Lebanon Daily News reported. The building also serves as student housing, and according to the resource center’s Facebook page, only women of color live there.

Also on Monday a student tweeted a photo of a notice allegedly posted on the door of the language department at West Virginia University. The notice encouraged students to attend a unity rally with pro-Trump signs. Suggested signs included “Build the wall” and “Go back to Univision.”

Several students are “no longer enrolled” at Abilene Christian College, in Texas, after a video surfaced of a student in blackface, The Dallas Morning News reported, and on Tuesday a graduate assistant at the University of Washington tweeted out what appeared to be a sarcastic valentine that he had found in one of his students’ homework. The note pictured Osama bin Laden with the caption “Is your dad a terrorist cause you’re explosive.”

Colleges Respond

In some places, the rash of hate-based incidents has been countered in ways beyond an administrator’s letter calling for unity.

The names of 3,200 alumni of the University of Pennsylvania were spread across five-pages of the student newspaper on Tuesday in an open letter supporting students after six black freshmen were added to a racist group-messaging thread last week. The University of Oklahoma student involved in the group is no longer enrolled at the university, Oklahoma’s president said. And late Tuesday, Tulsa Community College’s president said an unnamed student had been put on interim academic suspension while the college investigated his possible involvement in the racist messages.

Students on several campuses, including Baylor University and the University of Kansas, have offered to walk peers who are fearful to and from classes. The Washington Post reported that 300 people had walked a Baylor student to class after she was insulted with an ugly racial slur last week.

In an email on Tuesday afternoon, the University of Central Missouri said it would stop using its official social-media accounts for 24 hours starting on Wednesday, and it urged students to do the same. The call for social-media silence is meant to encourage face-to-face communication about “events taking place on campus and across the nation,” the email said, and follows an incident last week in which fireworks were tossed into a crowd of primarily black students protesting Mr. Trump, The Daily Star-Journal reported.

And a response to the response? An Iowa lawmaker said he planned to introduce what he called a “suck it up, buttercup bill” in January, The Des Moines Register reported. The legislation would penalize state universities that used taxpayer money on postelection resources like grief counselors.

“I’ve seen four or five schools in other states that are establishing ‘cry zones’ where they’re staffed by state grief counselors and kids can come cry out their sensitivity to the election results,” Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican, told the Register. “I find this whole hysteria to be incredibly annoying. People have the right to be hysterical … on their own time.” The Iowa universities said they had not spent any extra money on such services.

November 14, 2016

A Muslim student at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor said she had been forced to remove her headscarf on the campus after a man approached her on Friday and threatened to set her on fire if she didn’t. The hate crime came on the heels of a speech on Wednesday by the university’s president, Mark S. Schlissel, who comforted students at a postelection vigil by reminding them that the campus had voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“Ninety percent of you rejected the kind of hate and the fractiousness and the longing for some sort of idealized version of a nonexistent yesterday,” Mr. Schlissel said.

In response, conservative students and alumni have accused Mr. Schlissel of anti-Trump bias in a statement that has received more than 300 signatures. A spokesman for the university told the newspaper that neither Mr. Schlissel’s speech nor the vigil was anti-Trump.

A professor at the University of Oklahoma said on Monday she had found racist fliers on the campus — fliers that also appeared on the University of Michigan’s campus in September. One of the fliers is titled “Why White Women Shouldn’t Date Black Men,” and suggests African-American males are more like to have sexually transmitted diseases and to abuse women.

In addition, the OU Daily, a student newspaper, posted on Twitter that racist fliers had been inserted into print editions of Monday’s paper. In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for the university said the message of the fliers is “contrary to one of the university core values of acceptance and respect of all people.”

Over the weekend, a student at the University of Oklahoma was temporarily suspended for sending racist messages to black freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania, according to The Washington Post. The group-message thread included a “daily lynching” calendar event.

At Reed College, in Oregon, two library bathrooms were defaced with racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic graffiti such as swastikas, Willamette Week reported. A swastika was also found drawn on a classroom white board at American University, in Washington, D.C., alongside the words “Go Trump,” according to the The Eagle, a student newspaper.

At Villanova University, in Pennsylvania, administrators encouraged faculty members to talk to their students in class about the spate of postelection violence and hatred, after a black female student was assaulted last week by white men yelling “Trump, Trump, Trump!” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. In an email to the faculty, administrators said remaining silent could be “misinterpreted as indifference or, even worse, tacit agreement with malicious actions.”

On CBS’s 60 Minutes program on Sunday, Mr. Trump responded to a question on incidents of violence inspired by his election by saying they were “a very small amount,” and advised those committing them to “Stop it. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”

Correction (11/17/2016, 12:41 p.m.): A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that multiple swastikas were found on an American University white board. Just one swastika was found.

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