US & Canada

Anti-Semitic Valentine at Republican student event sparks outrage

Illuminated signs of Valentine's Day decorate a shopping district in Beirut, Lebanon, 8 February 2017 Image copyright EPA

Warning: Some readers may find some language offensive

A Republican student group has apologised after an anti-Semitic Valentine's Day card was handed out at one of its meetings.

College Republicans at Central Michigan University were distributing gift bags to students on Wednesday when the card was discovered.

It featured a picture of Adolf Hitler, alongside Valentine sentiments.

The group apologised, saying it did not "condone this type of rhetoric or anti-Semitism". A CMU inquiry later concluded that the card was made by a non-student.

In a statement, the College Republicans group said: "At tonight's [Wednesday] College Republican meeting, we had a Valentine's Day party, in which each member decorated a bag and other members placed valentines inside of others' bags. Unfortunately, a very inappropriate card was placed into a bag without other members' knowledge."

Image copyright Facebook/CR@CMU
Image caption The students' group issued a public apology on Facebook

CMU President Dr George Ross issued a statement saying the university was "deeply disappointed".

"This is not who we are as a campus community," Dr Ross wrote. "Such hurtful, offensive language, while protected by the First Amendment [of the US constitution], is unacceptable and is not consistent with our values and standards."

He said a meeting had been held to address the incident which included representatives from the Diversity Office and the CMU Police Department.

After completing an inquiry, the university's Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity said on Friday it had "determined the card was the misguided action of one individual, who readily admitted her role".

The office said the young woman was not a CMU student and had left the campus.

CMU students held a rally against hate speech on Thursday, which some Republican students attended.

Mackenzie Flynn, president of the CMU College Republicans, told student newspaper Central Michigan Life that the card had not been created from scratch - rather it was printed out from a page of Valentine's Day memes.

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Media caption'It gets lonely': Being conservative on a liberal campus

Alongside Hitler's picture, the card had: "My love 4 u burns like 6,000 Jews".

It was reportedly signed "XOXO, Courtney".

"While still not appropriate, I want to clear up that they did not create it themselves," Ms Flynn said.

The campus group for Jewish students, Hillel, wrote on Facebook that it was "deeply concerned and disappointed".

It promised to work with the university "to ensure all Jewish students feel safe and welcome on campus, and that incidents like this do not happen again".

Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in Hitler's death camps during World War Two.

Update: This article was amended to include subsequent findings of the CMU Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity. An earlier version said the card was made by a CMU student, which the university later said was not the case.

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