Posters linked to white nationalism appear on get-out-the-vote signs across campus

Get-out-the-vote signs around campus including the one above, pictured in front of Eaton Hall, were affixed Wednesday night with posters bearing the phrase 'It's okay to be white.' Seohyun Shim / The Tufts Daily

Posters bearing the phrase “It’s okay to be white” appeared across Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus late Wednesday night on get-out-the-vote signs that were put up this week.

The slogan first appeared on the internet forum 4chan on Oct. 31, 2017 with a call to post it “on campuses (and elsewhere)” over Halloween. Posters were subsequently found at numerous universities in the United States, including Harvard University and Tulane University. The slogan was later adopted and promoted by white nationalists, including former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke.

The slogan recently reappeared on college campuses after similar calls on 4chan to post it “on public spaces and campuses.” This is the first time posters bearing the slogan have appeared at Tufts.

Many of the posters at Tufts were placed on signs encouraging participation in the upcoming midterm elections put up by JumboVote and the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. JumboVote is a nonpartisan, student-led initiative that was founded in the run-up to the 2016 election to increase voter participation among Tufts students.

The posters surfaced over the weekend at the University of Vermont and Champlain College, both in Burlington, Vt. Posters were also discovered Wednesday night at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.

This year, forum posts explain that the campaign aims to incite left-leaning media outlets to unfavorably cover the posters and to link them to Saturday’s mass shooting by a white nationalist at the Tree of Life — Or L’Simcha synagogue in Pittsburgh. The posts added that the intention is to lead undecided white voters to vote for ‘pro-white’ candidates out of fear of being marginalized.

Australia was another target of Wednesday’s campaign, as the office of Anne Aly, a member of the country’s House of Representatives, was covered in posters bearing the same slogan. This came after the Australian Senate voted 31–28 on Oct. 15 to reject a motion decrying “the deplorable rise of anti-white racism,” which added that “it is okay to be white.”

The posters at Tufts were affixed to multiple get-out-the-vote signs around the lower academic quad and on the President’s Lawn. The posters were also wrapped around the windshield wipers of cars in the Cousens Parking Lot.

According to Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) Sgt. Christopher McGee, the on-duty supervisor Wednesday night, TUPD removed all posters that were located as of 5:15 a.m. and will conduct an investigation of the incident.


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