Reporting Gigi Barnett
TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)– A controversial student group at Towson University sparks claims of racism on campus. Hundreds of students gathered to fire back.
Gigi Barnett has more.
There were definitely some fiery accusations Thursday night. The entire debate was sparked by what was recently written on campus in sidewalk chalk.
Messages of “White Pride” plastered across the campus of Towson University have sparked a firestorm of controversy.
“As a person of color and being a minority on campus, I think it is really threatening,” said Phylicia Sampson, a Towson University senior.
Hundreds gathered to speak out against the actions of Youth for Western Civilization that wrote the messages.
The group’s president says they don’t promote hate; they support traditional values.
“What we want to do is be able to promote on campus for students who want to be proud of their heritage and the foundations of this country,” Matthew Heimbach, president of Youth for Western Civilization. “They have a place to do that and be able to stand up for themselves.”
“Some of the messages they’ve been sharing on campus since they began have been very controversial,” Dr. Deb Moriarty, vice president of Student Affairs at Towson University, said.
University officials say they are looking into the chalking policy but want to make sure they’re protecting free speech.
But it’s not just what’s on the sidewalk that’s got students upset.
Online, the group calls the Queer Student Union a ferociously angry gay group. Occupy Towson is called disease-ridden degenerates. The group calls the Muslim Student Association a terrorist-front organization.
“For them to call the Muslim Student Association a terrorist-front organization without ever having approached us for decent, mature conversation, it’s ridiculous,” Zeitun Tifow, a Towson University junior, said.
Officials hope this meeting opens a dialogue to bring the campus back together.
Members of that controversial group say they’ve gotten numerous threats of violence on campus since the beginning of the semester.
There are at least 10 student chapters of Youth for Western Civilization at colleges across the country.