On Sunday 1st November, posters with the message “It’s okay to be white” were reported as being placed around the University of Surrey accommodation blocks as well as in Guildford Town Centre near the Friary. The posters were likely placed at nighttime in the early hours of the morning whilst people celebrated Halloween.
The posters were promptly taken down by those that passed them and at the time of writing, no new posters have been put up.
A photo of one of the now taken down posters
The phrase “It’s okay to be white” became more commonly used as a trolling campaign in 2017 according to the Anti-Defamation league. However, it has been used as a racist slogan by white supremacists since before 2017 and more commonly since then. This is not the only time that Guildford has been subject to far-right messaging this year. In February 2020, “David-icke.com” was graffitied across Guildford as reported by Incite. This was most prominently in the underpass by the Ashenden Road roundabout. However, similar graffiti can be found carved into toilet cubicles across Guildford. The photograghed graffiti has since been removed.
When contacted by The Stag, SU President Lizzie Rodulson provided the following statement:
“We began receiving reports from Part Time officers on Sunday afternoon of posters having been placed on campus. It was clear from the messaging and font that these are undoubtedly used by white supremacist groups in other locations. We notified University Security who have begun investigating the locations these were found, and are liaising with local police (as they were also sighted in Guildford) and Home Office Prevent staff. Our Part Time officers removed any posters that were found, once the evidence was recorded. The wellbeing of our students here at Surrey is of paramount importance and we will do everything we can to ensure every community feels at home on campus so we encourage any students affected to please get in contact.”
Similarly a spokesperson for the University provided the following comment:
“We are aware of these posters and removed them. Our Security and Estates teams will remove them if they are seen again. It seems clear that these posters are designed to attract attention and drive division anonymously. If anyone in our community is aware of anyone who is seeking to stoke hatred and division, they can report it to us using Report + Support. The University expects sensitivity to the diversity of our community and respect for all sections of that community. We will take action where these expectations are not met. There will never be a place for racism, discrimination, bullying or harassment at Surrey.”
If anyone believes they may know who was involved in the postering, please contact use report and support at https://reportandsupport.surrey.ac.uk/. Similarly, if you have been affected by racism or hate speech and are a student at the University of Surrey, you can use the same link to access support services and be directed to the right place.