College promptly removes Blue Lives Matter face masks from bookstore after some say it's 'offensive'
- Muhlenberg College removed the "thin blue line" face mask from its bookstore after the school's Office of Multicultural Life complained.
- The college's chief business officer and treasurer said that the "thin blue line" is linked to “alt right” and "white supremacist" groups.
After backlash from students and the school’s Office of Multicultural Life, Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania has removed face masks featuring the “thin blue line” flag from its bookstore. The college also committed to “educate” itself on how allowing such things “adversely affect our students, faculty, and staff of color.”
In an email to the college community obtained by Campus Reform, Muhlenburg College Chief Business Officer and Treasurer Kent Dyer said that the Berg Bookshop “ordered a range of different masks to make available” for students, and pro-police masks were among them. Dyer said the masks “were removed from the bookstore as soon as the situation was reported to the College.”
The face masks featured a black and white American flag with a blue line running through the middle, meant to convey support for law enforcement.
Dyer went on to claim that the Blue Lives Matter flag is linked to “white supremicist [sic]” and “alt right” groups and that it is “a symbol that seeks to discount and erase concerns related to police brutality and other aspects of the Black Lives Matter Mvement”
[Profs demand university police chief resign after seeing Blue Lives Matter flag in his office]
Dyer assured students that the bookstore staff would "meet with members of the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Multicultural Life to discuss the impact of the incident," adding that "the College stands in firm support of Black Lives Matter and its goals of valuing the Black members of our communities and ensuring we do all we can to be more anti-racist."
"Having this merchandise in the College store is inconsistent with our institutional values," wrote Dyer.
This reaction comes following a push from the college's Office of Multicultural Life pressuring the college to remove the “offensive” masks.
According to a post to the office’s Instagram page, the masks were taken down within 30 minutes of contacting school administrators.
"For those who are unaware this particular design is a direct affiliation with the group, Blue Lives Matter, which is a counter movement to the Black Lives Matter movement," the post read. "The office was outraged and deeply offended by this. The Office of Multicultural Life immediately called for the removal of this offensive display."
The post’s caption stated that “more steps must be and will be taken."
Muhlenberg senior Ariel Abergel told Campus Reform that “by linking the thin blue line to white supremacists, the school's administration, led by Dean Allison Gulati, is clearly trying to foster division and sow hatred within the student body.”
“They are doing so by spreading lies” Abergel continued. “The thin blue line is not affiliated with any one group, it has no racist undertones and it certainly does not represent a BLM counter movement."
The student said that the statements made by the college are “rooted in falsehoods” and represent “not only a proclamation that Muhlenberg College views police officers as villains” but also “a demeaning slap in the face to the many law enforcement families who send their kids to Muhlenberg and pay Dean Gulati's salary.”
“Publicly desecrating the image of law enforcement, shaming police officers and linking those of us who support them to white supremacists and neo-Nazis is where we should draw the line” he asserted. “No academic institution should get away with such dangerous rhetoric and open discrimination.”
Abergel told Campus Reform that Muhlenberg College Republicans President Robert Arena, “is working to hold the college accountable and insisting that it retract their disgraceful statements.”
"Supporting the police, regardless of the color of their skin, is common sense that transcends politics," Abergel concluded.
Muhlenberg University did not respond to a request for comment by Campus Reform.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @RobertSchmad