In wake of Identity Evropa flyers, students question “All In”
Over the last few days, students have seen another round of flyers on university bulletin boards promoting Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group that wants to preserve “white American culture.”
Many marginalized students have taken to social media and other venues to speak out on the issue, with many feeling that Penn State is not a diverse and inclusive space.
With the latest racial demographics of all Big Ten flagship institutions, the 14 member schools combine for an average of 60 percent white students and an average of five percent black students. International students make up 14 percent of all students at Big Ten flagship campuses.
In hopes of making Penn State a more diverse and inclusive environment, the university announced its “All In” initiative last year, that has taken the form of more diverse and inclusive events and even an “All In” commemorative piece set to be built on the eastern side of Old Main Lawn.
Students have spoken out on the “All In” initiative in the past, sharing their frustrations on the campaign and poking fun at the idea of a commemorative ‘All In’ piece.
With the resurfacing of white supremacist flyers on campus, the idea of diversity and inclusion at Penn State is under critique once again.
“It is hard to honestly come out and say that this school is diverse because the statistics of the demographics of this school tell you otherwise,” said Elliot Bruce, a junior psychology and history major. “So on the surface, it doesn’t seem diverse at all but I do feel like the minoritized groups have been doing good jobs at reaching out to each other within their own respective communities to help all feel included and a part of something bigger than ourselves. ‘We Are’ is the slogan of the school but at times, it can feel like ‘They Are’.”
For Jackson Williams, a sophomore theatre design technology major who identifies as a black, pansexual, transgender male, only certain aspects of Penn State feel diverse and inclusive.
“I feel diverse and included by QTPOC [Queer Trans People of Color] and the School of Theatre, my communities,” Jackson said.
“Outside of those communities, not at all. There have been numerous times where I have been afraid to walk on campus by myself.
“Last year, I lived a few doors down from a white supremacist who harassed my roommates, one of whom is from Saudi Arabia, and myself with pro-Trump posters, stickers, and other propaganda placed on our door and slid under it. Nothing was done about her or the situation. I love Penn State, but time and again the safety and concerns of POC have been ignored.”
“We Are” is the slogan of the school but at times, it can feel like “They Are.” – Elliot Bruce
Jasmine Jackson, a junior economics major, echoed similar sentiments.
“There are plenty of situations where I am the only person of my identity in a class,” Jackson said. “Only in certain spaces do I feel like I belong, are validated, valued and aren’t being tokenized, ignored, or attacked.“