Students raise concerns at community forum about Patriot Front

Dean of Students Jerry Price encouraged students to contact Civic Engagement to formulate a group response to Patriot Front. Photo by Gabriela Anderson, staff photographer

Chapman students were encouraged to take part in formulating a response about the continuous postings of Patriot Front stickers on campus in a community forum, held by Dean of Students Jerry Price, in the Cross-Cultural Center Oct. 8.

Patriot Front, a white supremacist group, began posting stickers on campus Aug. 26 with the first wave of stickers plastered on La Frontera posters. However, Price told students 75 to 80 percent of stickers are placed in random locations such as trash cans and lamp posts.

Throughout the forum, Price addressed student concerns about the multiple reappearances of Patriot Front stickers on campus. The most recent sticker was found on a concrete post near a water pipe by Memorial Hall Oct. 7.

“(The administration) doesn’t feel like there is merit in sending out a new statement every time a sticker is posted because it is essentially the same stickers from the same group,” Price said. “But I wanted students to be aware that it is still happening, so students don’t feel like (the administration) wasn’t aware of it or ignoring the situation.”

The administration is not “naive that these (stickers) could be from a Chapman student sympathetic to these organizations,” due to the random locations of the stickers, Price said.

Price encouraged students to contact Civic Engagement about formulating a group response to Patriot Front. However, students at the forum questioned if speaking out would threaten their safety.

“Even if specific groups were to speak out, their names are still listed underneath the club,” said Jacky Dang, the Student Government Association (SGA) Diversity Chair. “Of course students want to speak out, but they are putting themselves at risk. Students aren’t just speaking out against something small, (they) are dealing with a significant white supremacist group on campus.”

Price reiterated the administration would never encourage students to do something that would threaten their safety. He suggested students place an anonymous advertisement in The Panther or an anonymous message.

Dang discussed how the administration should take priority in the students’ safety.

“At the end of the day the students are paying the tuition, attending this university and maintaining the retention rates, so making sure they are safe on campus is a viable point to bring up,” Dang said. “I want to feel like the administration has my best interest at heart and that’s why a lot of people want more transparency.”

Since the posting of Patriot Front stickers, Gabriella Corsino, a junior political science and psychology double major, has not attended a Queer and Trans People of Color Collective (QTPOCC) meeting because she has felt unsafe. Corsino said the posting of the Patriot Front stickers has affected her learning on campus.

“I don’t feel safe walking on campus at night going to a QTPOCC club meeting and I want to. If we saw this issue as big of a threat as it is to learning, we would take police enforcement more seriously,” Corsino said.

Although Price stated “it bothered (him) greatly that students might restrict their activity on campus because of fear for the people putting these up,” placing posters on campus is not a crime. However, police presence on campus may discourage people from posting more stickers on campus.

The Patriot Front stickers appeared on other college campuses across the country, such as Grand Canyon University (GCU), Arizona State University (ASU) and the College of Charleston.

An earlier version of this article named Jacky Dang as Jackie Palacios, the former Diversity Chair. This has been corrected.