More than 50 Northern Kentucky University students held an anti-racism campus demonstration on Tuesday in response to a flier that mocked a Welcome Black Week poster, reports The Northerner, a student newspaper.
WCPO-TV reported that a mock flier for Welcome White Week, designed to look similar, began circulating on the Highland Heights campus four days after Welcome Black Week ended on Sept. 2. It offered alternative events to ridicule Welcome Black Week and minority organizations.
Several universities host a Welcome Black Week to orient incoming African-American freshmen to programs and organizations that focus on the Black students and help them adapt to college life.
Several NKU faculty members, administrators, and its president attended the demonstration to show their support.
The Northerner said President Geoffrey Mearns praised the students at the demonstration for their constructive reaction to the insulting flier:
“I’m grateful for the way you’ve responded. You’ve responded in the best way of the character of the people here and the character of this institution.”
James Johnson, an African-American junior who helped organize the event, said the demonstration is about more than the flier incident.
“The ignorance that stands on NKU’s campus is no longer acceptable. It’s starting to become deliberate. Just like this person who deliberately copied our flier,” he said, according to The Northerner.
The demonstrators also spoke about a campus culture that makes Black students feel isolated.
“The reason we had Welcome Black Week was because we weren’t initially included in the festivities the university has,” Johnson added.
School officials emphasized to the newspaper that Welcome White Week was unauthorized. Mearns said the university is investigating who is behind the insensitive flier.