"Pig flyer" mocks UNC for denouncing anti-Trump violence
- A PhD student is upset that UNC condemned an anti-Trump flyer for inciting violence after responding similarly to other “violent” ideas and speech, and so is the anonymous person responsible for a flyer mocking the school's Chancellor.
- The flyer, which reproduces the original cartoon above an image of a pig wearing a police hat, also features an excerpt from Chancellor Folt's statement along with her name and the date.
A PhD student is upset that the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill condemned an anti-Trump flyer for inciting violence after responding similarly to other “violent” ideas and speech, and so is the anonymous person responsible for a flyer mocking the school's Chancellor.
Stephen Stacks, a PhD candidate at UNC, penned an open letter to Chancellor Carol Folt in The Daily Tar Heel regarding the recent statement denouncing a flyer that had appeared on campus encouraging people to burn “MAGA” hats and bludgeon neo-Nazis with baseball bats.
A second flyer appeared this week that appeared to mock Folt, showing an image of a pig wearing a police hat above an excerpt from Folt’s statement about the original flyer, which asserted that “its intentions are to incite violence, and there is no place for that here or in our society.”
The new flyer was posted anonymously, appearing in places such as the side of a Daily Tar Heel newspaper box, as seen in a photo provided to Campus Reform.
Nonetheless, Stacks decries Folt’s description of the anti-Trump flyer as the “antithesis of the values that are the foundation of our university,” arguing that Folt has never spoken as strongly against Trump supporters or the Confederacy as she has against the “innocuous” flyer.
“I found the strength of your condemnation strange given the types of conciliatory messages we have received regarding violence against people from marginalized communities,” Stacks addresses Folt.
He goes on to compare instances of “violent hate speech” to actual instances of violence, arguing that the Chancellor should respond similarly to both cases instead of just reiterating the university’s commitment to free speech, saying, "There is a fine line between free speech and violent hate speech.”
Stacks references one example in which Folt decried the silencing of political minorities in the classroom and said that students being uncomfortable to share their political opinions is an issue that UNC takes “very seriously.”
This wasn’t good enough for Stacks, who argues that not only did this statement ignore the “violent and unacceptable rhetoric that marked President Trump's campaign,” it also made it acceptable for students to share “violent and racist opinions.”
Pro-Trump opinions should be silenced, Stacks argues, because they apparently reach the same level of violence as the anti-Trump flyers encouraging burning hats and smashing fascists.
“President Trump and his supporters frequently crossed the line from free speech into violent hate speech and they should be made aware of where that line is at least as frequently as anti-Trump students are tone-policed for voicing opposition that is in no way more violent,” Stacks states.
He concludes that the collective nature of Folt’s statements—condemning violence but supporting free speech—makes minority students on campus uncomfortable, asserting that “this communicates subtly to our community members that while you will come to the defense of Trump supporters and neo-Nazis, you may not come as strongly to the defense of the people whose lives have been threatened and/or taken by white supremacy, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @amber_athey