A poster campaign at Missouri State University sought to privilege-shame students for being straight, white, male, Christian or able-bodied (among other characteristics) and informed students that the police only exist to protect white men.
The posters were sponsored by the university’s student government and Residence Hall Association (RHA) and reportedly went up inside a dorm Saturday morning before being removed on Sunday night in the face of backlash from students on Twitter. The Daily Caller obtained pictures of six of the posters from an MSU student before they were taken down.
Each poster included an example of “privilege” above the phrase “Check your privilege” and a checklist of different categories of privilege, including: Christian privilege, class privilege, white privilege, male privilege, able-bodied privilege, cisgender privilege and heterosexual privilege.
Each poster also included a definition of privilege in the lower right-hand corner: “unearned access to social power based on membership in a dominant social group.”
“If you’re confident that the police exist to protect you, you have white male privilege,” one poster read. Beneath it, “white” and “male” were both checked off in the list of privileges.
— Austin Paxton (@Paxton323Austin) April 30, 2016
Another poster informed students that “If while growing up, college was an expectation of you, not a lofty dream, you have class privilege.”
One poster that singled out Christian students said, “If you can expect time off from work to celebrate your religious holidays, you have Christian privilege.”
Yet another poster instructed students at the taxpayer-funded university to check their privilege if they aren’t transgender: “If you can use public bathrooms without stares, fears or anxiety, you have cisgender privilege.”
— angie (@PeteyFreshh) April 30, 2016
— Timmy (@Timmmerica) May 1, 2016
After many students voiced their outrage on Twitter over the posters, MSU’s student government tweeted out a statement saying, “Missouri State SGA values and supports free speech, diversity and our police officers.”
Junior Tim Briseno, VP of MSU’s College Republicans, told The Daily Caller that he took the original pictures of the posters which started circulating on Twitter after he shared them with friends. “You can see my reflection in several of the pictures and recognize me by my hair, watch, Titleist hat and phone,” he added.
Briseno said he was “at first shocked and appalled by the audacity of the university to sponsor and approve such vile and illegitimate posters.”
President of Missouri State University Clif Smart sent out a tweet late Sunday night distancing himself from the posters, saying, “MSU is not sponsoring this poster, [Missouri State RHA] is. Share your concern/outrage here,” followed by a link to the RHA website. It’s unclear what exactly president Smart was trying to communicate as RHA is a subset of MSU’s residence life department and is funded by a fee the university charges students at the beginning of each semester.
— Clif Smart (@ClifSmart) May 2, 2016
Then, later Monday night, MSU RHA sent out a tweet with a statement of sorts — the “statement” was a screenshot picture of a message somebody had typed on their iPhone’s notepad.
The statement acknowledged that the posters were produced by the university’s RHA and SGA and said the posters were originally produced last school year. The statement attempts no explanation for why the posters reappeared on Saturday but does note that RHA was “proud” to have produced them in the first place.
RHA would like to clarify its position on the posters circulating on Twitter pic.twitter.com/EXdZSR1Hbe
— MoStateRHA (@MoStateRHA) May 2, 2016
The Daily Caller reached out to both RHA president Rebecca Cole and SGA president Ashley Crisafulli for comment but neither responded by press time.
Follow Peter Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson