A Facebook page titled the “UCF White Student Union” has some University of Central Florida students concerned about the intentions behind it.
“We welcome students of European descent (and allies) to follow and contribute to the UCF White Student Union. We were inspired by the new White Student Union at UCLA and hope that our initiative will move our brothers and sisters across the country to do the same.
European-American students on college campuses face unique and immediate challenges that are ignored or even actively denied in today’s cultural climate,” the Facebook page states.
However, some students, such as freshman Black Student Union member Kiara Beverly, disagree with the page.
“Of course, as an avid advocate of equality (especially in regard to race) I just think that the organization is totally inappropriate. I feel as though the ‘White Student Union’ was created out of spite, and serves no purpose other than to create even more tension on the UCF campus. I’d like to also point out that the group was created just days after the Black Student Union held a peaceful sit-in in the student union in the heart of campus which rightfully earned them a lot of attention. Moreover, the mission statement of the ‘White Student Union’ and the issues that they have posted about on their Facebook page (in my opinion) come off as a form of mockery, especially in regard to the minority organizations on campus. Ultimately, I do believe that everyone is entitled to be able to think and speak freely; however, a group such as this one has no basis to demand to be treated equally or claim that they feel unsafe when UCF is a PWI that already caters primarily to people like them,” Beverly said.
Much like Beverly, senior Justin Smith commented on how the Facebook page appeared after the incident at the University of Missouri and the BSU sit-in at UCF.
“I don’t know the validity of the Facebook page, but I do know there has been many ‘white student union’ pages popping up within the past week, and as a person who is both Caucasian and African-American, I feel that it’s ridiculous that someone would take the time to mock and ridicule the black student union. This comes on the heels of the incident at Mizzou and the swastika postings around campus and it’s not a joke that our black student union decided to support another university and now some people think it’s okay to mock the BSU. The BSU did a positive thing that helped raise awareness and the response of some criticizing the sit-in and the organization validates why a lot of black and minority students take issue with the way things were and were not handled at Mizzou and even here at UCF and other institutes of education across America,” Smith said.
UCF is not the only university this has happened to. New York Magazine reported that more than 20 universities have had “White Student Union” pages form over the weekend.
At the University of Illinois, a “White Student Union” Facebook page was started that “characterized the national Black Lives Matter movement as ‘terrorism,'” the Washington Post reported.
The George Washington University posted the following on their Facebook page Monday afternoon:
Medium reported that the groups that keep appearing are probably fake and that “at universities that don’t seem to have any association with one another, white student unions have been created with the exact same statement of purpose.”
Whether fake or not, students are taking to social media with their concerns, much like Student Kenisha Thomas.
These white students don't understand why we have a black student union.. They just think that since we have one they're entitled to one.
— Doris Payne (@__nishat) November 23, 2015
“It’s 2015, black and white issues shouldn’t have to be like this anymore. As far as that white student union page, I hope they get exposed and nobody supports it because it’s just a mockery of black culture,” Smith commented.
One of the “UCF White Student Union” admins responded to KnightNews.com and confirmed that the admins are both current students and alumni.
According to the admin, the “UCF White Student Union” was started because of the backlash surrounding the Illinois union and how it inspired chapters at other universities.
“Reading the wave hateful and threatening comments by opponents made us wonder if this reception would be universal. Our current page hasn’t received too many negative responses and are nowhere near as vitriolic,” the admin said.
The admin who responded does not want to be named because they said members of WSUs have been harassed and threatened and they do not want people to interfere with their education or personal lives.
“I’m not sure how this is mockery. If they don’t like the WSU they don’t have to join. We will respect other clubs and not interfere with their activities on campus,” the admin said.
The admin confirmed that although they are recruiting, they are not a recognized student group.
“We want to advocate for whites who have not had a group to identify with due to all of the social justice activism. While SJ activism is admirable, such movements have alienated focusing on white interests. The fact an association of [white] students talking about white people is automatically written off as a hate group needs to be addressed,” the admin commented.
UCF is aware of the site and it is not affiliated with the university or a registered student organization, according to UCF spokesman Chad Binette.
Binette said UCF reported the unauthorized use of university trademarks to Facebook on Monday.