Officials at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma are trying to determine who left copies of a “deeply disturbing and offensive flier” at several locations on campus overnight Thursday.
UPS President Isiaah Crawford alerted the campus community about the fliers in a Friday email with the subject line, “Important Issue of Concern.”
Crawford wrote in the email, a copy of which was obtained by The News Tribune, that the “flier lists members of our community by name in inflammatory terms.”
Copies of the flier were found at the Wheelock Student Center and Collins Memorial Library, among other places.
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University spokeswoman Shirley Skeel said staff members discovered the fliers Friday morning and reported them to administrators.
Neither Crawford nor Skeel detailed what the fliers said specifically or who was named on them. Skeel said they did not threaten violence but did contain hateful language.
The News Tribune obtained a copy of the flier late Friday.
Titled “Bigots of Puget Sound,” it lists 22 people and includes short descriptions beside their names, including “racist,” “transphobic,” “xenophobic” and “sexist.”
“The following list are names submitted anonymously of people who have displayed hateful behavior online, privately, or publicly,” the flier states.
It goes on to ask people who have “names or experiences you would like to share” to send comments to an email address.
Skeel said she did not think police had been notified about the flier.
“The university is pursuing an investigation and will act on its findings as expeditiously as possible,” Crawford wrote. “Our first and highest concern is for the welfare of all members of our campus community.”
The posting of the fliers at UPS comes at a time when reports of racist and misogynistic incidents are emerging from schools and campuses across the nation in the wake of Donald Trump’s election to be the nation’s next president. The Associated Press reported Friday that more than 20 such encounters had been identified since Election Day.
Crawford referenced those incidents in his email, but Skeel said university officials are not sure what motivated someone to post the fliers.
“This time is a painful and emotional one for many on our campus, and on campuses and in communities across the country,” Crawford wrote. “We must remain vigilant and unwavering in our efforts to advance our goals to become the welcoming and inclusive campus we aspire to be, which means we will not tolerate harassment of any kind or in any form at Puget Sound.”
Skeel said university officials have “reached out to those affected and to the campus community as a whole.”
“As a community, we place a high value on freedom of speech, but that freedom requires balance and does not extend to speech that violates our harassment policy,” Skeel added.