Conservative groups and national activists are calling for the expulsion of seven students for hanging controversial posters Monday morning, as campus groups begin to take sides on Islamo-Fascism Awareness week.
The students, who said they felt the planned week was anti-Muslim, hung posters around campus early Monday morning. The fliers invoked the name of the week’s organizers – the Young America’s Foundation. Many people said they thought the act was intended as an attack on the Muslim community, until students calling themselves the Students for Conservativo-Fascism Awareness group took responsibility for the act Tuesday night.
Islamo-Fascism Awareness week – which is hosted by YAF – is being held at hundreds of colleges nationwide and will feature videos and lectures about radical Islamic states. Muslim organizations have condemned the event, including the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which created a document instructing protestors how to handle the week.
The event’s organizer, conservative author David Horowitz, said he is consulting with his lawyers to take legal action against “the GW seven” – a nickname he gave to the perpetrators.
“They impersonated the GW students, the Young America’s Foundation, and impersonated me,” said Horowitz, who is slated to speak in Foggy Bottom Oct. 25. “And (they) tried to implicate us in a hate crime.”
Adam Kokesh, a graduate student who admitted to hanging the posters, said they were meant to be satirical and that Horowitz has no basis calling their acts a hate crime.
“If you didn’t get the satire or you don’t acknowledge it was satire you might call it hate speech,” said Kokesh, an ardent anti-war veteran of the Iraq War. “But calling it hate crime is absurd.”
In an e-mail to The Hatchet Tuesday evening, those taking responsibility for the posters said they intended to embellish the racism of the event to draw attention to it.
“Most people who saw the fliers were offended, but with a second glance, saw that the absurdity of the message was clearly a horrific exaggeration of the racism that is behind this event,” the e-mail said.
Sergio Gor, president of YAF, said he plans to press charges with Student Judicial Services. He added he was initially targeted by the University as a suspect in the case, and wants them to publicly clear his name.
“For one thing, we’re calling for the expulsion of the people responsible for this,” Gor said.
He added the week has been in the planning stages since last May, but by Monday night all of the event’s co-sponsors had rescinded their sponsorship.
“We stopped asking people (to co-sponsor) after we saw the whole ‘Postergate’ thing,” Gor said.
Seven students signed confessions with UPD on Tuesday morning. Tracy Schario, University spokesperson, said the investigation of the entire incident was ongoing and that she could not comment on individual cases and punishments.
Schario has said the students could be charged with violating the policy for using the University’s logo without permission and for hanging posters on GW property with out prior approval.
Robert Fishman, executive director of Hillel, said students do not understand the implications of using symbols in public. Hillel was not involved in the controversy.
“I think the issue that I see here – that’s happening on campus – is that students are misunderstanding the use of symbols and the power that symbols have to generate emotion and response,” Fishman said.