The university is urging students to attend a campus diversity event in response to the distribution of fliers promoting white supremacy in the College of Architecture and Planning Building.
One of the fliers said, "Love who you are. Be white." The other said, "Our future belongs to us. Identity Europa."
All of the posters the university has found have been taken down, said Kathy Wolf, vice president for marketing and communications. The posters weren't a one-time incident and occurred over the course of the week, Wolf said.
"What we believe is external groups are obviously trying to use, in this case, the campus or CAP to get across whatever message they're trying to communicate," Wolf said.
The university reported the fliers to the police, but because it isn't a crime, no investigation has been started, Wolf said. The fliers constitute free speech, but there is speech that is fostered at Ball State and speech that is not, Wolf said.
"We are definitely a university that has an environment here that fosters respect," Wolf said. "We're known for our welcoming community and the respect we have as a community for each other. And we plan to continue to have that here."
Identify Europa is a white nationalist group that has been putting these posters up on college campuses across the nation, according to news accounts. The group's Twitter account says its "Project Siege" is a "beginning of a long-term cultural war of attrition against the academia's Cultural Marxist narrative that is maintained and propagated into society."
"The posting of these fliers was an impersonal, secretive act, that even if protected by the First Amendment, does little to advance civil discourse about the kinds of weighty, societal issues that exactly should be discussed at a university," interim president Terry King said in a university-wide email. "To be clear, racism and discrimination in all forms are abhorrent, and are incompatible with Ball State's values and policies."
King said he hopes that campus will continue to be a haven for the peaceful exchange of ideas. He said it is important to make sure students work to understand other viewpoints, even when they conflict with their own beliefs.
"I would like to challenge each of us to continue to engage in behaviors that promote inclusion and cultural literacy and understanding," King said. "It has been famously said that the remedy to offensive speech is better speech, so let's engage in that dialogue. Let's have those conversations. Let's live our Beneficence Pledge by extending dignity and respect to everyone with whom we interact and encounter."
King said he encourages students go to an event on campus later this month about learning from diverse perspectives in higher education. Lourdes Rivera, an associate professor of counselor education at the City University of New York, will be speaking about educating an increasingly diverse nation at 6 p.m. March 23 in Art and Journalism Building Room 175.