Some choose to ignore warnings of posting unapproved material around campus. (Oliver Yu)
Early last week on Saddleback College’s upper campus, scattered posters targeting the disabled were credited to the Poetry Club. However, the club’s president, Thomas Monroe, 27, philosophy, denied any association with the posters.
“I was shocked anyone would try to pass off hate speech as coming from the Poetry Club,” Monroe said. “We have always been [against] bigotry, and a place where people come to share without fear of judgement.”
After seeing the posters, Monroe quickly contacted Student Services.
Vice President of Student Services, Dr. Juan Avalos, stated, “Our chief of police discovered one of these posters in the Business General Studies [building] last week. Campus police is currently doing an investigation on this.”
According to Harry Parmer, Saddleback’s police chief, the poem on the poster was directed towards disabled people, and argued that they shouldn’t be allowed to ride buses.
“It was very offensive language, but there’s no law against free speech,” Parmer said. “I can go to the mall and hear offensive language.”
Justin Huft, 21, psychology, described the poem as “disgusting,” and decided to help take the posters down.
“I think there is a fine line between poetry and free speech, and something that crosses the boundary of hate speech,” Huft said. “The problem arises when it’s posted in areas specifically to upset people.”
In the poem, people with disabilities were referred to as “retards” and “fat slobs” according to Huft.
“It wasn’t well-written or tasteful, and was printed on forged Saddleback letterhead with Poetry Club’s name on it,” he said.
Students that wander in and out from classes in the BGS building, may see signs posted on the windows that state “Posting signs or fliers on doors or windows is prohibited. Violators will be reported to the campus police.”
This was the only policy violated by the individual who decided to put the posters up for everyone to see. Although the actions of the individual do not meet the elements of a hate crime, according to Parmer, the campus police are still investigating the situation, questioning the culprit’s motive and purpose.