Interest for White Student Union grows
A White Student Union could form on Towson’s campus, former Youth for Western Civilization President Matthew Heimbach said.
Heimbach said that the purpose of the White Student Union is to create a support network for white students on campus and to celebrate various elements of white history, figureheads and culture.
“We essentially want to replicate what every student union does on campus,” he said. “You have a Black student Union who promotes black heroes, we want to do the same thing.”
The union is meant to be more open than Heimbach’s former group, YWC.
YWC’s goals included active political discourse and campaigning. A White Student Union would be friendlier, he said.
“We’d also want to create a safe space for members who have filed hate/bias reports and who have had anti-white language used against them,” he said. “Especially the female members who have heard ‘cracker’ and ‘honkie,’ and nothing has ever come of it. It’s a support network for a campus that is hostile toward white students.”
Sophomore music education major Liam Hurlbut said he believes it is unfair for white students to have their own union.
“White power movements are illegitimate,” he said. “In the history of this country, whites never lost their power. They have always run this country and oppressed all other races. Even today whites have unearned ‘privileges’ in our society. Whites must recognize and reject this privileges to atone for the evils of our ancestors.”
The group hasn’t filed any paperwork to become a student group, according to Student Government Association President Brandy Hall, although the group’s leader met with SGA Adviser Chris Rindosh.
Hiembach said that 17 students have submitted their information and are interested in joining.
He also has set up meetings with potential advisers. Heimbach may not take leadership of the organization.
“I’m not clamoring to be at the forefront. Last year was tiring, always being the public face for an organization under siege,” he said. “It wears on you. If we had an election, and that’s what the people wanted, I’d help the organization grow to the best of my ability.”
Hall said that the SGA may no longer approve student groups the first year they are active, however, if a resolution started by Associate Vice President of Campus Life Teri Hall is passed by the SGA, it would require new student groups to go through the Office of Student Activities for the first year they are active.
“The resolution would still have the SGA senators vote, but only after a student group has been active for a year and they are ready to become budgeted,” Hall said. “Teri has been working on it for four years, and it is ready to be voted on, and I will fully support senators voting for it. It makes student groups come to the SGA after a year and show that they were a positive force on campus before they can get a budget.”
Because there has been no formal application, Hall said the SGA is not currently concerned with the proposed union.
“We aren’t concerned with them right now,” she said. “We are interested to see how it will pan out. If they do become a student group, SGA will get feedback from students about how they feel the group is on campus, and we will act from there. I am always open to acting on what the students want.”
Hiembach said that it’s difficult for others to demonstrate public support for the union because he feels that the campus judges potential members.
“After the headache of last year, I’m afraid SGA might vote us down on principle,” he said. “But if we have the students, the adviser and the constitution, there’s no reason to allow us not to be SGA affiliated.”
Hiembach and his supports have also advertised rigorously, posting over 150 flyers around campus.
He said that they disappeared almost as soon as they are put up.
“Some people are apprehensive standing out outside the union,” he said. “Everyone remembers with YWC. I was the public face, I have nothing to hide from anymore, but I think a lot of people are not more forthcoming because they’re frightened. It’s ironic because others are intimidated and afraid when in reality we’ve acknowledged that we’re outnumbered.”
Heimbach posted a Facebook status Wednesday stating, “So Facebook banned me for a day and took down the Towson University White Student Union page for ‘hate speech.’ Funny enough, the Towson University Black Student Union page is still up.”
Numerous fliers were posted on the door of the Center for Student Diversity asking students to support a White Student Union, according to Assistant Vice President for Student Diversity Victor Collins.
Collins said that he would not be opposed to a White Student Union on campus, as long as they follow the proper procedure to become a student group.
“I have no objection to students creating an organization if they follow the procedure,” he said. “However, I don’t think they should have their own space or office on campus because it would promote the idea that white students have the same experience on campus as African American students and LGBT students, and that’s just not true.”
Last semester, YWC, Heimbach’s student group dedicated to promoting traditional beliefs, garnered significant media attention and was eventually was disbanded due to their adviser, professor of mass communication Richard Vatz, stepping down.