Banned or Not? September 11 Memorial Posters ‘Might’ Offend Muslims

College says it offered 'suggestions' for this, while conservative campus organization says something quite different

Controversy is brewing over Ripon College’s Bias Protocol Board’s confusing-at-best response to 9/11 memorial activities planned by the conservative Young America’s Foundation (YAF) on its Wisconsin campus.

A statement on YAF’s national website says that the trouble arose when Ripon College administrators disallowed members of the school’s YAF chapter to hang posters.

The decision, per YAF, was based on bias reports that were filed during last year’s project, where the posters were ruled to have created an environment in which “students from a Muslim background would feel singled out and/or harassed.”

The memorial posters are an eight-photo collage depicting victims of a variety of incidents of radical Islamic terrorism, including 9/11.

The photo images form a frame surrounding the simple message “Never forget.”

Images depict incidents as early as the 1979 Iran hostage crisis and as recent as the Pulse Nightclub attack in Orlando in 2016. Other images included the attack on the USS Cole, an ISIS beheading, and the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi in 2012 on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

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The objections to the posters the school cited involved the memorial campaign’s allegedly focusing “relentlessly on one religious organization, one religious group, one religious identity — in associating that one religious identity with terrorist attacks, which go back far before 9/11 and after 9/11 — creates for some students here an environment which they feel like they are not able to learn,” Spencer Brown reported on YAF’s website, quoting an unnamed administrator.

The school, for its part, has flatly denied disallowing the posters.

A Thursday morning tweet from the school’s Twitter page says, “No posters or memorials related to 9/11 are or have ever been banned by Ripon College.”

Ripon’s communications vice president, Melissa Anderson, said, “Ripon does not have a posting policy, and thus never requires prior approval for posting,”according to Newsweek. Anderson also added that last year’s posting “led to a vigorous debate on campus, including counter-postings.”

The school, also via Twitter, said yesterday that “much misinformation” has surrounded its response to YAF’s memorial poster campaign. In addition, it framed their response to the YAF about poster-related complaints lodged last year as “suggestions as to how to have a discussion about 9/11 this year with our entire campus community.”

Something isn’t adding up here. Whether this is merely a miscommunication on the part of Ripon College or on the part of YAF, or a bit of both, is not clear at this point in time.

What is clear, however, is that Ripon College is saying today — Friday — that there is no ban on the posters after YAF said Wednesday that the school expressly disallowed it.

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.

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