Stickers with racist messages were posted in several public areas of campus during the week of Oct. 17. UCCS Police are actively investigating the incident according to a campus-wide email from Chancellor Venkat Reddy.
“The stickers were meant to target BIPOC and international community members, as well as intentionally encourage anger about race-related issues,” Reddy wrote in the email release on Oct. 25.
“This expression is counter to our central values as a university: to provide an open, safe and supportive campus environment based on mutual respect, engagement and learning for everyone.”
The stickers — which have been removed by the university — featured white supremacist slogans and were branded with the name of a white nationalist organization.
“I remember not being shocked,” said Irina Amouzou, senior women’s and ethnic studies major, of the stickers. “It didn’t really register to me that I should be shocked … because I live in Colorado Springs and I go to UCCS, a predominantly white institution.”
“Given all of this and more, I feel disheartened — not because it’s surprising, but because the university claims that one of its focuses is on diversity, equity and inclusion. They seem to focus on the diversity and inclusion part, somewhat, but they forget about the equity part,” Amouzou said.
Amouzou expressed dissatisfaction with the official response to the stickers. “When statements come out naming these stickers as ‘racially divisive,’ that sends a message to the students that it’s actually targeting,” they said. “It is not racially divisive; it is racism against the BIPOC communities.”
UCCS Police could not comment on the investigation. “If students feel unsafe I would encourage them to contact us at 719-255-3111 to receive a safety escort,” wrote UCCS Chief of Police Marc Pino in an email. “All students, staff and faculty can also download the RAVE Guardian app.”
MOSAIC is a resource on campus that students can utilize if they have been impacted by the stickers. The office works to support and advocate for students in marginalized communities and creates spaces for students to find and develop community.
Students also have access to a variety of other resources including the Office of the Dean of Students regarding personal safety and wellbeing; the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; the Office of Institutional Equity; and the Wellness Center for confidential mental health services.
“We affirm, celebrate, and stand by the ongoing investment in UCCS as a diverse community. Inclusive diversity is at the heart of our mission. While we are each individuals, we form one community — so let our actions each day build upon the work to celebrate and uplift this phenomenal Mountain Lion community,” Reddy said.
If anyone has information about the stickers posted on the UCCS campus, contact [email protected] or call 719-255-3288.