Missouri State students upset over masking guidelines that had previously mentioned swastikas

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 9:32 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2020 at 10:43 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Missouri State University students say they are upset over a social media post involving masking guidelines and swastikas.

Guidelines for masking on the university’s website had claimed the swastika symbol could be used on masks while on campus. The website has since been updated.

“No one is going to be wearing a swastika for fashion, it’s always going to be something discriminatory or hate speech,” said Missouri State University student, Lauren.

Lauren is a senior at Missouri State University. This week she was looking up the guidelines for masking on the university’s website when she came across something she calls embarrassing.

“I was just reading through the guidelines and that’s where I saw it, highlighted, that swastikas were allowed and then I just tweeted it,” said Lauren.

On Friday, the university responded on Twitter, apologizing for mentioning swastikas on their website, saying it is a symbol of hate and they do not condone the use of hate symbols of language on campus. They also updated the website. The post also says, “As a public university Missouri State is obligated, and believes in, the right of freedom of speech.”

“For it to be so blatantly out there that a swastika is allowed on campus, I know it’s under the first amendment and its protected by freedom of speech, but you never see a swastika without it being a hate speech," said Lauren.

Missouri State said in an effort to balance both the right to freedom of speech and the safety of students, faculty, and staff, a bias response team was developed years ago.

“I have never put in a bias response form, I don’t really experience bias, but from the stories I have heard and read, I don’t really think they do much,” said Lauren.

Missouri State University sent KY3 the following written statement:

“As a public university, Missouri State is obligated to uphold, and believes in, the right of freedom of speech. We apologize for mentioning swastikas on our website. It is a symbol of hate, and we do not condone the use of hate symbols or language on campus. We have updated that website.

In an effort to balance both the rights to freedom of speech and the safety of our students, faculty and staff, we developed the bias response team. This team works to address perceived bias-related situations, concerns and/or complaints with a goal to create a campus environment that welcomes all of our students. It is our duty to uphold the law and provide an accessible, safe and welcoming education to our students. Thank you to all of you for addressing this situation and holding us to our standards.”

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