Over the course of a week, vandals at Illinois State University (ISU) defaced fliers belonging to College Republicans and Turning Point USA (TPUSA), slurring them as “Nazis” and “racists.”
When the College Republicans posted advertisements for a Friday, August 24, event featuring Nick Adams, an Australian author and Fox News commentator, they soon discovered that someone had crudely written “NAZI SCUM” and “No NAZIS on campus!” on two fliers.
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The following Tuesday, August 29, members of TPUSA, a non-partisan organization that promotes “the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government,” left their first weekly meeting to canvass. They chalked slogans promoting their message on the pavement and posted fliers promoting their organization on bulletin boards outside ISU’s Milner Library.
TPUSA President Andy Byars told Campus Reform that he began to receive texts from group members the following day with pictures of the group’s posters. One reading “big government sucks” now featured phrases such as “NAZI SCUM,” “NO RACISTS ON OUR CAMPUS,” and “LOVE TRUMPS HATE.” Another poster proclaiming, “you are not entitled to what I have earned,” had the added claim, “CAPITALISM=White Supremacy.”
That afternoon, a member of TPUSA witnessed a female student pouring water over one of the chalk messages, and asked why she was erasing the message. According to Byars, the female student “gave him the finger and ran away.”
Byars later discovered alterations to some of their chalk messages. “Capitalism cures poverty” became “Capitalism creates poverty,” and “Free Markets / Free People” became “Free Markets / Great Depression.”
“We’ve been a club since last fall. This is the first thing like this that has happened,” said Byars. “You hear about this stuff happening across the country, and then it happens to you. It’s sad.”
Byars rejected the accusations of racism, arguing that “the far left has increasingly become more hostile towards anyone that differs from their ideology. They use name calling to try to shut them up.”
“The free exchange of ideas is a vital part of the educational experience on a university campus,” an ISU spokesperson told Campus Reform. “To that end, Illinois State University strongly encourages civility in all discourse and debate and does not condone vandalism, defacement, or other destructive acts in the course of expressing opinions or beliefs.”