Emerson College has launched an investigation into a campus conservative club for handing out stickers critical of the Chinese government, according to a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
In a letter sent to the president of the Turning Point USA (TPUSA) chapter at Emerson, the group is being investigated for breaking the school’s “Code of Community Standards” following an event on campus last week in which “China Kinda Sus” stickers were distributed. The stickers also included a hammer and sickle, indicating that the group was suspicious of China’s communist regime.
Daily Wire reported that in a letter Interim Emerson President William Gilligan called the stickers “anti-Chinese messaging” that is “inconsistent with the College’s values and will not be tolerated on our campus.”
“The expression of free ideas cannot and should not violate these standards that are integral to creating an environment where all members of our community feel a sense of belonging,” wrote Gilligan. “At this time in particular, when there has been a rise in anti-Asian sentiment, it is important to denounce all instances of anti-Asian bigotry and hate, and affirm our support and solidarity with the Asian and Asian-American community on campuses and around the world.”
Emerson’s International Student Affairs team sent out an email to international students about the incident a day after the students handed out the stickers. The group said that the stickers “expressed anti-China hate” and that they stood with Asian students “to denounce the use of free speech platforms for statements that are used as xenophobic weapons.”
The team also stated that the incident was being investigated for any potential violations of the school’s Code of Community Standards.
TPUSA Vice President and Campus Coordinator Kjersten Lynum, in response to the outrage, made a video on Instagram explaining that “The sticker intends to criticize the Chinese government, the regime responsible for the largest genocide in the world right now,” said Lynum, adding, “it has nothing to do with Asian ethnicity or Asian culture.”
Lynum added that her relatives are from China and Singapore, and that she is “offended that people would suggest I have hatred towards my own race.”
The Emerson Chinese Students Association termed the stickers “utterly senseless and intolerable,” and requested an apology from TPUSA as well as disciplinary action.
“The sticker contained the symbol of the CCP, which should make it obvious it was referring to the Chinese government, and not about Chinese people,” Sam Neves, president of TPUSA—Emerson, told The College Fix in an email.
“The president of the entire college, the international student’s department, and several other college administrators released statements assigning racist malice to those meme stickers and condemning our organization without even talking to us first,” Neves said.
The stickers featured a red character from the online game Among Us with a hammer and sickle on it, along with text reading “China kinda sus.”
In the game, Among Us, players try to figure out the identity of the “imposter,” a character tasked with killing other players in order to win. Other players commonly refer to someone who has imposter characteristics as “sus,” which is short for “suspicious” or “suspect.”
An Illinois high school expelled its TPUSA chapter earlier this year after the group displayed a poster with the same image and slogan as the Emerson sticker.