Photo courtesy Michele White
“YeisRight” messages were written in chalk on sidewalks in many locations at the University of Alabama overnight.
The messages of support for Kanye West, now known as Ye, drew condemnation from several directions. White supremacist groups and other antisemitic organizations are now using “Ye is Right” as shorthand to express agreement with Ye’s recent antisemitic rants.
The university issued a statement condemning the chalkings, “which violate our Capstone Creed, our campus culture and our core values. Our expectation is that everyone be treated with civility and respect.”
Upon learning of the chalkings, the university started removing them, “initiated an investigation and organized resources for those impacted and concerned.” Support is being provided by public safety and the offices of student life, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
The University Police were removing the chalkings, and were stationed outside Zeta Beta Tau and Sigma Delta Tau, the Jewish fraternity and sorority with on-campus houses.
Chalkings outside the university’s student center were removed by maintenance, then reappeared an hour later.
Last week, white nationalists using the same hashtag organized at Florida Atlantic University, before being kicked off campus. The event was organized by Dalton Clodfelter, and included a “Ye is Right: Change My Mind” table. He was accompanied by white nationalist Tyler Russell. Clodfelter is a white nationalist and Holocaust denying livestreamer.
Clodfelter, who last week was named StopAntisemitism’s Antisemite of the Week, has embarked on a “College Campus Invasions” tour to spread the message of Ye’s “love.”
Mason Berger, president of Alabama’s Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, said through the network of AEPi presidents, he has been made aware of similar groups attempting this at campuses across the country.
There are indications that the Tuscaloosa graffiti came from a supporter of the tour, not the organizers themselves, and that Jan. 27 may refer to when the organizers might be on campus.
Jan. 27 is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Ye is Right Twitter account indicated that the organizers are at Florida State University today.
The University of Alabama Hillel said it “condemns hatred of any kind and is saddened by the chalking incident discovered this morning.”
Noting that such incidents are rare at Alabama, “We are diligently addressing the situation and are currently working with local and federal agencies as well as the SCN Director of Security through the Birmingham Jewish Federation. The university has already provided additional supports and security measures to keep our students and members of our campus and Tuscaloosa community safe, as well as well-being resources for our entire campus community.”
The Hillel reiterated that it is “here for our students and encourage anyone in need of additional resources to reach out.”
Chabad at Alabama said they were “horrified by the antisemitism across campus today.”
They are distributing Shabbat candle kits to share light and dispel darkness as Shabbat comes in around 5 p.m. on Jan. 27. “We will never be intimidated by acts of hate and will continue to respond with acts of light.”
Chabad invited the community for Shabbat dinner, or for any time someone in the community needs support.
Chabad at Tulane launched a similar candlelighting effort after a controversy involving a Tulane junior who wrote an article claiming Ye did nothing wrong.
Young Americans for Freedom at the University of Alabama also issued a statement condemning the “heinous chalk messages… such despicable hatred should have no place on our University.”
Citing their support for the Jewish people and Israel, YAF said they stand with the community and call for a speedy investigation.
Daniel Schmidt, a sophomore at the University of Chicago, tweeted that the Bama investigation “sounds like a violation of the First Amendment.”
Schmidt describes himself as chairman of Students for Ye, which promotes Ye’s 2024 presidential candidacy and says it is the “only youth student organization fighting for Christ and America.” He recently started a website, College Dissident, that was the venue for the Tulane student’s controversial article.
Students for Ye’s Twitter called the chalkings at Bama “love speech.”