Anti-immigration fliers reignite a discussion of inclusion at Fisher

Students, faculty and staff gather in a silent protest
Students, faculty and staff gather in a silent protest

By Diana Russo, Editor in Chief 

A message of illegal immigration was shared on fliers and posted around campus on Jan. 22. The fliers were removed by students and administrators at 10 a.m. that day.

The fliers depict a picture of the United States with an alarmed face and arms that shield an aggressive arm coming from the outside. The photo is surrounded by the anti-rape slogan “NO means NO!” and #mybordersmychoice, a hashtag that trended and encouraged people to disperse the fliers on Jan. 22. 

Although the fliers made sophomore Luisa Rodriguez feel disgusted and uncomfortable, she experienced a similar situation just a year earlier. White supremacist fliers were posted at Fisher in December 2016.

“As a person whose parents are of immigrant descent, it hurt,” said Rodriguez. “This is my home, but I don’t feel home at my home.”

Hours after the fliers were removed, President Gerard Rooney released a statement that reassured the entire campus that “St. John Fisher College has a zero tolerance policy for behavior that is not consistent with our values.

However, Rodriguez was not pleased with Rooney’s response.

“In the response there was no apology, to any kind of matter,” said Rodriguez. “We have programs like HEOP [Higher Education Opportunity Program] and First Generation Scholars who most likely their parents are from immigrant descent. So I think it was a slap in the face to a big chunk of the Fisher community. He should have done better to think about his student population, who he has on his campus.”

This news hit home for Rodriguez because she realized that the message targeted her, her family and peers.

“I want to sit down and have a conversation on why they feel that way,” said Rodriguez. “Clearly they have thoughts and misconceptions on what immigrants are like and who they are.”

“As a person whose parents are of immigrant descent, it hurt. This is my home, but I don’t feel home at my home.”  – Sophomore Luisa Rodriguez

Rodriguez was one of the students who participated in a silent protest at Campus Center Mainstage on Jan. 23 in response to the flyers. Students, faculty and staff gathered to spread positivity and stand for a united campus and community.

Dr. Jenna Rossi, an associate professor of American Studies, joined the silent protest and realizes that there is a larger issue at hand.

“What disturbs me is that it’s picking up on something for students who feel marginalized, which is a larger policy issue in the country,” said Rossi. “To me, that’s getting to the heart of the issue and the root of the issue is DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], Dreamers, building the wall, the quote on quote Muslim ban. Those are the real issues where people in the Rochester community, our real families, are affected.”

As Fisher moves forward, Rossi hopes that students who may make up the minority can associate with faculty and staff with similar backgrounds. In order to encourage this continuous conversation students are welcome to attend Listening Tables, an event on Jan. 24 from 12-2 p.m. in the Campus Center Atrium. A town hall meeting will also take place on Jan. 25 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Golisano Gateway.

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