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College rules that conservative group’s 9/11 memorial posters are offensive and upsetting to Muslims

Image source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A college bias team at Ripon College has determined that a conservative group's 9/11 memorial posters are unacceptable because they may have the potential of upsetting students with Muslim backgrounds.

What's on this poster, anyway?

The poster from the Young America's Foundation features a nine-square grid featuring imagery of terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic radicals. Some of the incidents depicted on the poster include images from the 9/11 bombings, an Islamic State beheading, and the USS Cole bombing.

In the center of the grid, text reading "Never Forget" can be seen.

What's the controversy?

The bias team at Ripon College, a liberal arts college in Ripon, Wisconsin, determined that YAF's "Never Forget" posters are against the school's policy — but the conservative group maintains that the imagery on the posters is zeroed in on Islamic terrorism and not targeting Muslims at large.

On Tuesday, members of YAF met with the school's campus bias team where a campus official reportedly declared that the campaign's posters zeroed in "relentlessly on one religious organization, one religious group, one religious identity."

The official purportedly added, "In associating that one religious identity with terrorist attacks, which go back far before 9/11 and after 9/11, creates for some students here an environment which they feel like they are not able to learn."

The official reportedly noted that the posters simply create an environment in which "students from a Muslim background would feel singled out" or "harassed."

Another official reportedly said that the campaign poster adds nothing to "the conversation about 9/11, or about the politics of terrorism, or about national security, or responses to it that couldn't be done easily and more constructive without [the poster]."

The Young America's Foundation obtained an audio recording of the meeting, according to The College Fix.

Anything else?

Spencer Brown, Young America's Foundation spokesman, told The College Fix that the annual 9/11 memorial program isn't new and is intended for college campuses.

“The original need for us to create this project dates back to 2003, when we saw schools trying to sanitize 9/11 and not talk about who committed these terrorist acts,” Brown said.

Hannah Krueger, Young America's Foundation's chapter president, told the outlet that 2017 was even worse.

“Last year many posters were torn down and destroyed,” Krueger told the outlet. “The posters went before the student judiciary board and they found them to be in compliance with the poster posting policy. It is only this bias protocol team that finds them to be inappropriate and racist.”

She revealed that the bias team told the conservative group that 2017's posters were simply offensive, and during the Tuesday meeting, administrators reportedly implied that the group would not be able to hang the posters this year, even if they were to be modified to reflect terrorist acts not perpetrated by Islamic radicalists.

“[I]t was implied we could not put up the posters,” Krueger said. “We offered to add images to the poster to make it showcase even more terrorist attacks, those executed by non-Muslims. This was said to try and assuage their complaints about it being biased. They said it would only appear as an afterthought and they heavily implied the current posters could not be put up. They wanted us to spend the time to create a whole new one. Something us college students don’t have with only two weeks of notice.”

Krueger added that she believes the school's bias team is being unreasonable. She also said she feels those with opposing viewpoints are targeting the conservative group.

“I firmly believe our conservative viewpoints are being targeted," she said. "If others put up a poster that offends me or challenges my viewpoint, I simply try to open a discussion with them or fairly debate their viewpoints, not call upon a bias protocol board to step in and highly discourage the poster with potential consequences.”

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