Students at Towson University have reacted angrily to a right-wing campus group called Youth for Western Civilization for their perceived racist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigration and homophobic messaging and phrases that were chalked at various locations on the campus. Among the phrases was “White Pride.”
A forum was held last week attended by about 400 students to address concerns about these messages as well as school safety. Matthew Heimbach, a 20-year-old junior is the president of the Towson University chapter of YWC. He explained that YWC is not a white supremacist group and that “white pride” should be as acceptable as “black pride” and “gay pride.” A spokesperson for the school said the group is not breaking any rules and will not be punished.
Freshman Andrew Werner told The Towerlight, an independent newspaper at Towson University, that the intolerance on campus targets LGBT students as well as black students. “I am proud to say that I am gay but that I am also Catholic,” Werner said at the forum. “I personally have been accepted, but those that I’m around have not been. I have witnessed a lot of insensitivity, and as a generally caring person, I just feel that that is not OK.”
Heimbach denies that the group is homophobic or racist. But he wrote in an end-of-semester report on the YWC website explaining why a “Straight Pride” event had been organized: “A small list of the events and programs that Towson hosts to promote the homosexual lifestyle includes gay pride month, drag shows, a gay mentor program, transgender awareness days, frequent pro homosexual speakers, LGBTQA rooms with special accommodations, internships only for gay students, and the Safe Space program for gay students. YWC thought it was a shame that in our diverse campus environment, the viewpoint of Straight Pride and heterosexual marriage was not represented.”
Youth for Western Civilization has at least 15 chapters. It was incorporated in 2006 and began organizing at American University in 2008. The founder was Kevin DeAnna, a graduate student at AU. Former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, known for his staunch anti-immigration stance, is honorary chairman.
According YWC’s Facebook page its mission statement includes: “The group opposes what it views as ‘radical multiculturalism, socialism, and mass immigration’ and a ‘poisonous and bigoted leftist campus climate.’”