On Tuesday Jan. 25, members of the Macalester community found a series of posters around campus containing antisemitic, homophobic and transphobic content, along with various Bible verses. According to Macalester Public Safety, the individual responsible is not a part of the Macalester campus community.
Posters included messaging such as “what is sanctioned by God, who people are and what can be changed, and what is marriage.” Some suggested that “those who contribute toward someone’s abortion” are “guilty of homicide.”
Rose Harbison Ruedisili ’22, president of the campus faith-based group Macalester Christian Fellowship (MCF), described the contents of an antisemitic poster. “They were basically justifying the Holocaust because people didn’t believe in Jesus.”
Leaders of MCF met last Sunday with Chaplain Kelly Stone to discuss the posters and their messages.
“All of us were disappointed and disheartened and confused because the messages in these posters were the antithesis of what we believe,” Ruedisili said. “It made our stomachs turn that an identity that we hold dear is being used to justify hate.”
Ruedisili fears that these posters may reinforce negative sentiments about the Christian religion.
“So many people have a history of trauma or hurt caused by the church,” Ruedisili said. “Some people claim to be a Christian to justify hateful acts. But there are also times when people use Christianity to inspire hope and love and inclusion.”
On Tuesday Feb.1, leaders from MCF and staff from the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life hosted a discussion about reclaiming Christianity.
“I hope people feel welcomed into the conversation so that we can talk about these really real, heavy issues like understanding our own faith,” Ruedisili said. “There are so many times when we have to say ‘I’m a Christian, but I’m not homophobic, or not transphobic, etc.’ Maybe we can change that and say, ‘I’m a Christian and I support such-and-such.’”
Macalester Public Safety looked at camera footage as a part of their investigation and determined that the posters were not put up by Macalester students, staff or faculty.
“It is not unique for people who have certain ideologies to post these things on college campuses,” Dean of Multicultural Life Marjorie Trueblood said. “It is possible for this to occur again. We still symbolically and behaviorally demonstrate what our values are.”
Campus administration is responding to the security issues by reinstating card swipe access to enter the Campus Center and reminding students to be mindful of non-community members trying to slip into campus spaces.
“We are still in a COVID context,” Trueblood said. “Be vigilant in thinking about how we keep our spaces safe, and if you see bias-related incidents, please continue to report them.”