Western investigating 'White Student Union' page
Staff at Western University are looking into a Facebook page that was created over the weekend dubbed, "Western White Student Union."
But it appears the people behind the group don't actually attend Western and may not even live in Ontario.
Keith Marnoch, head of media relations for Western, says, "Our initial concern was related to a group of people trying to use the Western name, branding and logo to validate what they were doing."
And Western wasn't the only school affected, about 30 'White Student Union' groups claiming to operate out of various universities across North America have been created.
Still, offiicials at Western believe the people involved don't attend the school, Marnoch says.
"This group had no particular connection to Western. We worked with Facebook to have that looked at and since that time, the branding, the logo have been taken off that site, but it continues to operate."
While there is no known campus presence behind the page, it has sparked a debate over whether the type of group should even exist.
There are over 200 groups at Western University, and any social or cultural group looking to create an association must apply for and meet the requirements before being approved.
Kevin Hurren handles communication for Western's student council and says there are several criteria, "Is it open to all students, is it already offered and is it in line with Western's student code of conduct - so basically that group, like any group, would have to prove their programming caters to all three requirements."
An unknown administrator of the page posted the following statement Saturday:
"We welcome students who wish to construct a white identity, as well as all other students, to follow and contribute to the Western White Student Union. This mission statement has been inspired by the one set up by our sister group at the UCLA White Student Union.
"We unapologetically provide a creative space for white bodies to construct-deconstruct whiteness, to discuss and reflect upon the lessons laid down for us by our forefathers, and to develop a positive program to restore the pioneering will and greatness of European heritage while being mindful and respectful of other identities that whites and nonwhites alike espouse.
"We affirm the dignity and ancestry of our proud people who have gifted the world with countless works of beauty, science, and wisdom, and are committed to promoting a dialogue and political resistance that will secure a future for our posterity and spirit.
"At the same time, we do not wish to denigrate or harm any other group or ethnicity.
"We wish to construct a fluid, dynamic pro-white identity while working together with other identity groups on campus. That is to say, we wish to construct a distinct but not exclusive white-European identity that is white/European while at the same time being aware and respectful of other non-exclusive constructions of identities other than white/European.
"We seek to honor our past while promoting a positive, peaceful vision of the future; one in which fluid identities empower all bodies to organize and represent themselves and pursue their authentic selves."
As of Monday evening, the Facebook page had 110 'Likes.'
Several people have posted on the page voicing their displeasure with what some called a "public front for the private preaching of hate, racism, and xenophobia."