Concerning propaganda posters on the TWU campus

A message from the Vice President for Student Life

August 19, 2017

Dear TWU Community,

Last night the TWU Denton campus was covered with posters that contained inflammatory white supremacist rhetoric and propaganda. A group of individuals who identify as members of the National Texas Bloc placed posters around the university including the free speech area.  This group identifies themselves as a national socialist movement.  I want to assure you that our campus leadership, the Department of Public Safety, and various support services are aware of and responding to the situation. DPS has taken swift action to remove all materials outside of the free speech area and will continue to dismantle any remaining propaganda that is found.  

The university condemns in the strongest possible terms the actions of these individuals who invaded our campus with messages that threaten the values of our community, which includes a commitment to an inclusive environment that embraces diversity- as stated in our mission and in our guiding principles. We also understand that the symbols and messages contained in these posters are likely to be upsetting and very offensive to many members of our community, particularly given recent events in our country.

One of our primary objectives always is and remains the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. We can assure you that staff members; administrators; faculty and police - both visible and not visible -will be here, focused and ready to serve and protect.

This week, we expect our faculty and students to return to campus. Therefore, we also are planning for additional resources that may need to be deployed.

Our goals and approach to our work at TWU do not change. We will continue to strive to build a safe environment and provide experiences that will enable students to become thriving adults. We have strong systems in place for students to report instances of bias, and support for them in these times of distress is available from a number of sources across the university. Students continue to receive, and lead, training and outreach about how to make wise, responsible decisions for their own safety, as well as for their friends and acquaintances. What we experienced this weekend also calls us to strengthen our existing systems, identify gaps and seek areas in which we can do more. Planning, preparation and education remain our best defenses against hate and ignorance.

Some of the specific resources include on-call counselors, who are available immediately to our students.  Students may call the Department of Public Safety at 940-898-2911 and will immediately be put in touch with a counselor.  Beginning Monday at 8 a.m., TWU will have crises counselors available for students who may need assistance. In addition, I have been in communication with Police Chief Sam Garrison, and he has worked to maintain an open dialog within the community.  Our Department of Public Safety is on call, alert and ready to respond 24/7, if needed. We encourage you to, if you see something, say something. 

As a community, I believe the practice of open, civil dialogue has never been more vital. This is a longtime hallmark of TWU, and such conversations often have incorporated our past, both good and bad, including the historic exclusion or marginalization of certain groups. The work of building an inclusive, welcoming community is not over or complete. We are committed to continuing this hard work and fostering critical dialogue, both inside and outside the classroom, with honesty, civility and mutual respect. 

I believe in our commitment to maintain a rich and diverse community. No amount of hatred and bigotry can erase the values we all share. This event only strengthens our commitment to these values. In my 24 years at TWU, it always has been the people-students, faculty, staff and alumni-who make TWU a special place.  Let’s continue to work together to keep this tradition alive.

Sincerely,

Monica Mendez-Grant

Vice President for Student Life