UPDATE: Petitions Circulating Against Potential Towson U. White Student Union
A representative for the Center for Community Change said more than 700 letters of complaint have been sent to the Towson University president's office.
A national service organization has called on Towson University President Maravene Loeschke to denounce the creation of a White Student Union on the campus.
"We see this as a racially divisive group, and the news of this was very concerning to the communities that we serve," said Jeff Parcher, director of communications for Center for Community Change.
In an email, Donna De La Cruz, a press secretary for the organization, wrote that more than 700 letters against the White Student Union from a series of petitions on Change.org and SignOn.org have reached Loeschke's office.
The Washington, DC-based organization aims to assist low-income people, especially minorities, in 40 states.
Matthew Heimbach, former president of the now-disbanded student group Youth for Western Civilization, is part of a group of students looking to start the White Student Union on the Towson campus. Youth for Western Civilization sparked national attention when its members allegedly wrote "white pride" in chalk on various parts of the campus.
"To think that someone would be so insensitive to the struggles that minority groups have faced in the country is extremely troubling," wrote a Change.org user identified as Alesia Lucas in one of the online petitions. "This group should have no place on a college campus."
Gay Pinder, a university spokeswoman, said that as of Monday, no paperwork had been filed for a White Student Union. However, she noted that all undergraduate campus-sanctioned groups must welcome all students, provided they have a minimum 2.0 grade point average.
"[Heimbach] may want [the group] to be exclusive to whites, but that's against our policy," Pinder said. "However, it is within his right to form the group—whatever the university thinks of it—as long as it follows the rules."
She declined to comment further stating that because no paperwork has been filed, the group is not yet an issue.
The petition letter can be read in full below:
Dear President Loeschke:
Your University claims that “Towson University values diversity and fosters a climate that is grounded in respect and inclusion, enriches the educational experience of students, supports positive workplace environments, promotes excellence, and cultivates the intellectual and personal growth of the entire university community.”
If the past is any indication, this student group is ploy to exclude groups that have been historically marginalized. A group like this has one goal: to promote hate.
Allowing a “whites only” student group directly contradicts your commitment to diversity -- and it serves no purpose other than to discriminate against non-white students.
As the President of Towson University, I urge you to publically denounce the creation and establishment of the "White Student Union."