Rutgers White Student Union Facebook page anonymously emerges
At least 30 universities across the country have seen White Student Union groups created by anonymous Facebook users popping up in the past two weeks.
Rutgers University is among the list of colleges, which includes Penn State University and Missouri State University.
The White Student Union (WSU) at Rutgers page was created last week. The group serves as "a new organization dedicated to the cultural preservation and promotion of white students at Rutgers and around the world," according to its Facebook page.
A majority of the WSU Facebook pages are believed to be made by troll accounts, according to a report by Medium. Users on 4chan and the Twitter account @ReactionaryTree encouraged people to create WSU pages at the most liberal colleges in the country.
In an email interview with The Daily Targum, the anonymous admin of the page claimed to be a Rutgers student who grew up in New Jersey.
"Everyday our culture is taken from us under names such as 'diversity' or 'privilege,'" they said in an email."... We wish to provide an intellectual environment from which white students and allies may learn about their rich and beautiful culture, history and society. This too is slowly being taken from us."
Initially, the WSU at Rutgers was made as a hoax by a non-University member, they said. But after learning of the page, they contacted its original creator, who handed ownership of the page over to the student.
Many WSU pages at other schools are now also being run by students, they said. They denied the claim that the WSU pages were a product of 4chan trolls, citing an article on breitbart.com.
"This is in fact the case with many of the original 'troll' unions. Currently, the majority of the unions have been started and are being run by actual students, inspired by the original groups, such as Rutgers," they said.
Currently, the student said they are the only person in charge of the page, but that "membership is growing."
Daphney Noel, president of the Rutgers National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior, made a statement on behalf of the organization, saying the formation of a White Student Union is "both unnecessary and offensive to the generations' long plight that minorities have faced in this country."
"For one to insinuate that there is a need for cohesion and camaraderie for white students on campus in the face of purported marginalization and discrimination, is to live in a fantasy," according to the statement.
Despite concerns, administrators have assured students that a White Student Union does not exist at Rutgers.
The White Student Union Facebook page does not reflect the values of Rutgers University, said University spokesman Greg Trevor.
"The operators of this page have stated publicly that they are not endorsed by or associated with the University administration," Trevor said in a statement. "The organization they claim to represent does not exist at Rutgers."
Rutgers has contacted Facebook and is attempting to work with Facebook’s administrators to delete the page, which is similar to actions that other universities are taking. Rutgers, like other schools, has attempted to take down the page based on copyright claims on the University logo.
At the University of California – Berkeley, the school's White Student Union Facebook page was deleted last Monday.
The White Student Union at Rutgers admin is attempting to skirt around copyright claims from Rutgers.
"To combat (copyright claims), we made our own ORIGINAL content," the page reads. "It consisted of a simple red letter R, and the letters "WSU" in black. The Rutgers Administration believes that they own all red letter R's, and filed a copyright complaint with Facebook."
The White Student Union page filed a formal report with Facebook for the right to use original content, according to its page.
According to the Rutgers NAACP statement, the University should be concerned when any form of racism or white supremacy appears, whether it is intended to be hateful or as a joke.
"The views of the WSU are views of certain students at Rutgers, whether they are the authors of the Facebook pages or not," according to the statement. "These Facebook pages might inspire and incite hateful or discriminatory behavior by those students who agree with white supremacy."