Authorities Investigate 'Hate-Filled' Flyers Found at Connecticut University

UPDATE 11/4/2019 2:00 p.m.: This story has been updated to include a photo of one of the flyers from the West Connecticut State University campus as well as information new information about the incident. An article by Audrey Nielsen, reporter for the university's student newspaper, The Echo of West Connecticut State University, provided both the photo and the information.

Flyers covered with "hate-filled" slogans that were left on a Connecticut university campus this past Thursday night have prompted investigations from police and federal agents, according to the Hartford Courant.

The incident occurred at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU), a public university located in Danbury. The flyers, printed on plain white paper, were reportedly found near a "residence and classroom hall" close to the school's main green. On the flyers were the slogans "Islam is right about women" and "It's OK to be white," the Courant reported.

Both messages stemmed from earlier stunts organized on the /pol/ ("politically incorrect") board of the website 4chan, according to The Echo of WestConn, the college's student newspaper. They were created with the intention of stirring "controversy and alienation" among university students, the Echo reported. The flag of /pol/ was also hung at the scene of the incident.

At this time, no one can say for sure whether the flyers were created and distributed by students, faculty or by people with no connection to the school.

University spokesman Paul Steinmetz, quoted in the Courant, said that local and state police as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had begun to investigate the incident on Friday after WCSU officials contacted them.

WCSU issued an official statement from the university's president, Dr. John B. Clark, on Friday.

"Last night [October 31], our university community was subjected to the random distribution of hate filled flyers and inscriptions on our university property," he said. "I wanted to assure you that a full scale police investigation is underway, which includes frequent communication with representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Connecticut State Police, and Danbury Police with review of footage from our surveillance cameras as well as interviews with individuals who may have witnessed any of this despicable and utterly unacceptable behavior."

Clark strongly condemned the distribution of the flyers as "sick and outrageous," and assured the university community that the incident would be thoroughly investigated.

"All members of our community should feel comfortable, safe and secure at the university," Clark said. "Indeed, we all should feel that WCSU is our second home. Again, please rest assured that we are taking every measure possible and working with our law enforcement agencies to find and prosecute these sick individuals and defend our university."

It's Okay to Be White Flyer
One of the flyers at WCSU, next to a "Kekistan" flag from 4chan. Audrey Nielsen/The Echo of WestConn

The flyer incident at WCSU happened amid two other occurrences at other universities in Connecticut and around the country that were described as racist or motivated by hate.

Two weeks ago, two white students at the University of Connecticut "were arrested and charged for yelling an anti-African American racial slur outside campus apartments," the Courant reported. The two men's charges could result in a 30-day jail sentence or fines of up to $50, according to NBC. The event prompted a student demonstration for the school to take action against the two men charged with yelling the slurs.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also demanded that the University of Connecticut take further action to punish the two students and prevent similar actions from happening in the future, NBC reported.

Last month at Yale University, the painting of a swastika accompanied by the word "Trump" outside of its law school prompted a police investigation, according to the Courant.

Some surveys have indicated that hate-motivated crimes are on the rise across college campuses in the United States. For example, in 2018, the Chronicle of Higher Education presented an analysis of data from the FBI that indicated instances of hate crimes had been increasing at a steady pace since 2016.