A week after UMD Chancellor Lynn Black said his school remained "very much committed to the goals of the [Un-Fair] Campaign," university administrators changed their minds last week and "indefinitely suspended" their sponsorship.
The Un-Fair Campaign has been controversial since its anti-white privilege billboards debuted in Duluth last winter. With messaging centered on an "It's hard to see racism where you're white" theme, critics contend the campaign is unnecessarily divisive and contradicts itself by using racism to combat racism.
UMD's decision came on the heels of the Un-Fair Campaign's latest video spot. Released last month, the spot shows white people with anti-racist slogans scrawled across their foreheads, such as "society was set up for us." The video is embedded below the jump.
[jump] While reaffirming the school's commitment to the campaign on June 25, chancellor Black criticized the latest video spot. He said several people complained to the school about the video's message and expressed concern that UMD had produced the clip. That wasn't the case, but as one of the campaign's 18 sponsors, UMD had helped pay to put up the Un-Fair Campaign's billboards and air its public service announcements.
Without further ado, here's the controversial video (the top YouTube comments urge viewers to "throw that white guilt message out the nearest window" and characterize the campaign as "Another Anti-white propaganda campaign aimed to degrade the white race into submission):
All 18 sponsors met on July 2. A UMD press release published later that day announced the school was pulling out of the campaign, saying the anti-white privilege message had "alienated some UMD alumni, supporters and others in the broader community."
The release characterized the campaign's messaging and creative emphasis as "divisive," adding that UMD and the other 17 sponsors -- including the city of Duluth, Community Action Duluth, the University of Wisconsin-Superior, the YWCA, Central Labor Body, and Lake Superior College -- will meet on July 17 to discuss changing Un-Fair's creative direction. According to the Duluth News Tribune, none of the campaign's other partners has indicated they want to pull out.
UMD's decision comes just days after one of the Un-Fair Campaign's Duluth billboards was defaced with a Confederate flag and a racial slur, indicating that the "hard to see racism when you're white" message remains a divisive issue in the 90-percent-white city.
Despite the decision to suspend its involvement with the Un-Fair Campaign, UMD's press release said the school "continues to advance its strategic goal of creating a positive and inclusive campus climate for all by advancing equity, diversity and social justice."
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