FGCU police say they’ve ID’d person responsible for anti-Semitic messages on campus
The Florida Gulf Coast University Police Department on Thursday said they believe they’ve identified the person responsible for posting anti-Semitic signs around campus over the weekend.
Police say the signs were placed on Saturday, and after receiving a tip about a person, police reviewed the License Plate Recognition system and saw that person did enter the campus during the time the signs were placed.
FGCU PD will not release the name of the person but says he or she is not affiliated with the university and is not a current or former student or employee.
“I personally I don’t appreciate people coming on our campus defacing what we have going on here,” said. FGCU student Joe Smith said. “Just grow up.”
The person will be issued a trespass warning for the FGCU campus.
“We know the same fliers have been put up on other campuses including the University of Central Florida,” FGCU PD said. “Our legal recourse is rather limited, but we can and should all speak out to reject and condemn these hateful communications and make those who choose to practice it know they are not welcome at FGCU.”
Similar to what the FGCU PD explained, an attorney we spoke to said the signs are likely protected by free speech.
“It offends me, honestly,” FGCU student Stephanie Gonzalez said. “I think it’s unfortunate that people are doing that. I understand it’s freedom of speech, and you have the right to express how you feel, but when it does start hurting people, it’s totally wrong.”
“It’s not a good look. You don’t want any of that stuff posted up,” FGCU student Jacob Powers said.
Mike Carr, a former judge and attorney, said there is not much the campus can do legally.
“You can’t charge people with crimes unless there’s a charge to charge them with,” Carr said. “Just the signs themselves, whatever you feel about the content, they are probably protected by the free speech by the constitution.”
Students are hoping that person return to campus, and FGCU President Mike Martin and the university said they will not tolerate any hateful form of communication on campus.
“Everyone has their own views, but when they are filled with hatred, you don’t really belong here,” Smith said. “So just stay out of our school. That’s it. And don’t come back.”