University investigating Hitler-themed Valentine card

MT PLEASENT, MI (KTRK) -- A holocaust-themed valentine has enraged students at Central Michigan University.

An anti-Semitic valentine was handed out with an offensive message at a CMU College Republicans meeting Wednesday night.

That valentine also showed up at another campus building.

Nearly 24 hours after an inappropriate message showing Adolf Hitler comparing love to genocide found its way into a valentine's bag, students protested hate speech on campus and the university started an investigation.

"This is kind of like the straw that broke the camel's back," says Evan Whittenbach, Central Michigan Action lead organizer.

In a statement, the CMU College Republicans say they don't know who distributed the anti-Semitic card during a Valentine's Day party.

Still, students came out to protest it.

"We don't know all the details of this. We are not going to protest the actual, this specific incident but we know that there have been other instances of hate speech on campus," says Whittenbach.

The card shows a photo of Adolf Hitler with a message that reads, "My love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews".

It's a message Jewish students take seriously.

"I was shocked," says CMU student, Hadley Platek. "I wanted to find out a little more about it. That was my initial response."

Platek says it is a reoccurring issue that needs to be addressed.

"I think that's something that we, as college students, need a reminder of sometimes that we need to be respectful of others," says Platek.

WWTV reports that the university is taking it seriously, too.

"Our Office of Institutional Rights was looped in. Our office, the police department, of course, the city attorney has been looped in just so that we, and this is what we do when incidents happen. We respond to them right away," explains Carolyn Dunn, associate vice president for Institutional Diversity at CMU.

Student Activities and Involvement director, Damon Brown says, "It's definitely shocking but, at the same time, I think that no, that is not who we are at this institution. That's not who we are at CMU."

CMU President George Ross also released a statement to us about the incident saying the university is deeply disappointed in the situation, calling on the campus community to be respectful and inclusive.

You can read the full statement below.

"We are deeply disappointed by last night's situation with a Valentine card containing an inappropriate sentiment that was produced during a student organization meeting. This is not who we are as a campus community.

Such hurtful, offensive language, while protected by the First Amendment, is unacceptable and is not consistent with our values and standards.

Leaders from the president's and provost's offices, Office for Civil Rights and Institutional Equity, Office of Institutional Diversity, Student Affairs, Student Activities and Involvement, and the CMU Police Department met first thing this morning to review the situation and determine next steps. OCRIE has launched a formal inquiry, and OID will develop additional educational efforts for the campus community.

We caution against concluding that the action is representative of the entire student organization or its members and remind all that threatening others as a result of such an incident can have legal consequences.

We once again urge each of our students, faculty and staff to be beacons of peace, respect, inclusivity and civility - to be role models of integrity, dignity and leadership.

At Central Michigan University, we stand up against hate, protect the safety of all, and build bridges of understanding that bring people together."
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