DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. - Mercy College and the Greenburgh Police Department are investigating the posting of Ku Klux Klan "recruiting" fliers that were distributed Nov. 30 at the Westchester Marriott Hotel in Tarrytown, where Mercy College students are housed.
Reports of the fliers, which read "the Ku Klux Klan Wants You," and contained references to the group's tradition of lynching, have been a hot issue at the Mercy College campus as first reported Dec. 3 by the school's newspaper The Impact.
The Greenburgh Police Department's report of the incident listed the complaint of the Mercy College students as a charge of “aggravated harassment” and not a hate crime, according to police. Aggravated harassment is considered a “Class A” misdemeanor.
Bernadette Wade, chief college relations officer for Mercy College, released a statement to the Daily Voice Thursday. Wade said the college was cooperating with Greenburgh police.
"Mercy College officials are aware of reports that a flier was posted over the weekend at an off-campus location," the statement read. "The college has zero tolerance for insensitive and disturbing behavior. Mercy College’s Code of Conduct specifies offensive material cannot be posted anywhere. The college is cooperating with local officials, as well as conducting its own internal investigation."
The Impact reported in a story that "students and school administration are responding to the incident with shock and determination to get to the bottom of what has happened."
Information on the poster included plans about a recruitment meeting Dec. 1 in the town of Dobbs Ferry on the corner of Broadway and Elm streets. No meeting occurred according to Dobbs Ferry police.
According to the Mercy College 2012/13 edition of the Student Handbook's “Materials Distribution And Postings” guidelines read: "Permission to place posters and/or fliers anywhere on campus must be obtained from the Center for Student Success and Engagement. The circulation of handbills by individuals must have similar approval. Items must not be obscene, discriminatory, disruptive or offensive to the Mercy College community. In addition, all approved materials of any type must be posted on appropriate bulletin boards. Posting on doors, glass, cinder blocks, painted or marble surfaces is not permitted.”
Mercy College students have been posting comments on Facebook and other social media.
Lauren Martin said, “it’s a ‘harmful prank’ that is still messed up… if it’s a joke it’s not funny at all.”
Priya Persaud, a Mercy College student said, “This is a diverse school and a private institution. I have lived in Westchester County all my life and never thought that racism was in this area.”
Nicole Carcitto, another Mercy College student said, “Of course I don’t agree with it, but it’s freedom of speech.”