Students and members of Tempe’s Maple Ash Farmer Wilson neighborhood protested outside ASU’s Fulton Center on Tuesday calling for ASU administration to defend their faculty members from the harassment of outside organizations, such as National Youth Front.
Lee Bebout, professor of ENG 401: U.S. Race Theory and the Problem of Whiteness, felt the effects of the organization after various members posted his home address on a public website.
Members of the National Youth Front, a self-proclaimed anti-supremacist organization, came after Poe for holding a public teach-in of the course on ASU’s Tempe campus.
Poe said ASU administration needs to take a stand for their faculty members and release a statement.
“As long as ASU stays silent, (National Youth Front’s presence) remains working,” Poe said.
The public protests garnered the support of many passersby for Poe, especially ASU students. One of those students, justice studies junior Vanna Morales joined the protest after learning more about the issue.
“They can’t even take the course to then decide whether it’s bad or good, and they’re already trying to shut it down,” Morales said. “We should be able to learn. We come here to learn about every side of everything, so why are they trying to take that away from us?”
About six members from the National Youth Front stood across the street from Crow’s office with megaphones and posters counter-protesting Poe and his supporters.
“Sorry Poe, You Gotta Go” and “Bebouts (sic) Class Is Anti-White” were just a couple of the signs displayed by the group.
ASU spokesman Gerry Gonzalez declined to comment about the protest and reiterated the University’s statement from January showing support for Bebout’s class.
“The class is designed to empower students to confront the difficult and often thorny issues that surround us today and reach thoughtful conclusions rather than display gut reactions,” part of the statement read. “A university is an academic environment where we discuss and debate a wide array of viewpoints.”
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