University officials forwarded their investigation into the unauthorized distribution on campus of more than 30 hate-filled flyers to the Nueces County District Attorney’s office, according to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi President Kelly Quintanilla, in a statement released on Feb. 2.
It was the second statement Quintanilla released regarding the Jan. 27 incident, seemingly carried out by a racist hate group calling itself “Border Stormers,” which promotes neo-nazi messages on its social media site. Some faculty and students were highly critical of the university’s initial reaction to the incident, and to the first official statement released by Quintanilla on Jan. 30. (Both statements may be read in their entirety on Pg. 2.)
The campus organization Student Citizen Activists learned of the flyers Saturday morning, Jan. 27. The group’s president, Daniel Yzaguirre, immediately organized his members to document the flyers, then removed them from numerous buildings around campus. One of the headlines on the flyers stated, “Rapeugees not welcome.” Another declared, “End DACA!,” a reference to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program currently the subject of debate in Congress. That same day, the group’s faculty adviser, Isabel Araiza, Associate Professor of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts, reported the incident to university police. University spokesperson Luisa Buttler, in a story published in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times on Sunday, Jan. 28., said the flyers were not approved by university, as they lacked official approval and were posted on doors and windows, which also violates university policy. It was not until Tuesday, Jan. 30 that President of Texas A&M University — Corpus Christi, Dr. Kelly Quintanilla issued her first official response.
“Messages that promote discriminatory, racist comments and images are not part of our intellectual exchange. We at A&M—CC and throughout the Texas A&M University System denounce all discriminatory and racist rhetoric, but nonetheless, it is present,” stated Quintanilla.
Reacting to Quintanilla’s first statement Araiza, stated that the president’s response, coming four days after the incident occurred, speaks volumes to those – herself included – whose very existence is contemptuous to Neo-Nazis.
“The Alt-Right is just a euphemism to the term – Neo-Nazis,” said Araiza. “The administration called the language used by Nazi propaganda, “racist” and “discriminatory” rhetoric. It’s odd that the terms – racist and discriminatory rhetoric – are now being used as euphemisms for what was clearly hate-filled speech. This is a profound failure of leadership, if you ask me.”
Yzaguirre was also critical. “Regardless of Dr. Quintanilla and the university’s official statement, our students have been threatened,” said Yzaguirre. “We are shocked and saddened that our university president, who takes pride in being the leader of a Hispanic Serving Institution, does not believe this to be the case. Dr. Quintanilla should be leading the charge to find those responsible and hold them accountable for their actions, yet her delayed statement of condemnation falls far short in doing so.”
Both Yzaguirre and Araiza also wrote opinion pieces that were published in the Caller-Times on Feb. 1 that were highly critical of the university’s response. The next day, Quintanilla issued her second statement and announced that the investigation is now in the hands of Nueces County prosecutors, and also referred to the flyers as “hate speech.”
Yzaguirre’s response here
Quintanilla does not believe the individual or group responsible for promoting hate speech on campus are TAMU-CC students, according to an e-mail sent to the Caller-Times.
Meantime, Student Citizen Activists posted hundreds (?…need to confirm) flyers of their own around campus last week, and are also planning on-campus events designed to raise awareness and continue the discussion (may need to revise this lead in depending on what they have planned).