Fliers recently circulated around various parts of the community and campus suggest that Chinese students do not support the Chinese Student Organization.
The fliers, which read, “All the Chinese Students Hate Chinese Student Organization,” were found at locations such as Tiger Transit stops and apartments including The Connection.
The flier called for the CSO to leave the University.
Wei Yi is the interim president of the CSO.
He and other members of the organization are working to discover who created the fliers and why.
“We all feel very shocked,” he said. “I think currently the University and the police [division] are conducting an investigation and trying to figure out what is going on. We have not received any further information from them.”
Students within the organization have also felt shock and confusion caused by the fliers.
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“Some students asked, ‘We are trying to do something for the community; why are we getting such hate, or why (do) such hate signs happen?’” Yi said.
Yuying “Valerie” Liu, sophomore in communications and assistant to the CSO, said the organization respects other people’s opinions.
“From the Chinese student perspective, it is not good,” she said. “We respect others’ perspectives, but we want to resolve this and also decrease its influence.”
While this is a serious issue, Liu does not want it to be a defining factor of the organization.
“Chinese people continue to come to the University,” she said. ”A lot of the freshman are confused and wonder what is going on.”
Carolyn Fitzgerald serves as the undergraduate adviser for Asian Studies, Chinese.
She hopes the community can come together and be supportive and respectful of everyone on campus.
“I really hope that people of all nationalities can get along with and respect one another,” she said. “CSO has made many efforts to support Chinese cultural events and education about Chinese culture on campus, and their hard work is sincerely appreciated by many faculty and students.”
There are multiple channels people can utilize to express their views, Yi said. Circulating fliers is one of the least effective.
“If you have a problem or opinion, our organization is welcome to any feedback or suggestions,” he said. “We would like to be able to communicate to solve any problem.”
The organization is working to decrease the pressure felt by its members, Yi added. He wants to encourage students to remember the real reason for being at the University.
“We want everyone to stay calm and to remember that we are here to study,” he said. “We are just trying to make some type of contribution to the community.”
In May 2017, The New York Times published an article regarding the influence the Chinese government holds over many Chinese student organizations in the U.S.
However, Yi said that is not the case at Auburn.
“We are a non-political organization,” he said. “We have never promoted any government agenda or attempted to curb or suppress any speeches as we fully support freedom of speech as well as freedom of academia.”
Instead, the CSO works to bring diversity to campus and bring culture from the East to campus, he said.
“We strive to build a bridge between the international students and local community, while also helping relieve students of the homesickness they may be experiencing,” Yi said.
The CSO holds several events throughout the year to bring international and local students together, he said.
For the most part, the Chinese community is supportive of the organization.
“This semester is our Chinese New Year,” Yi said. “We actually brought in a new movie to the local AMC so students will be able to enjoy the same movies as their families overseas. In one weekend, they sold over 1,000 tickets for that movie. The students actually try to support our activities.”
The CSO also holds an autumn and spring gala.
Within a four-hour span, they sold 400 tickets for the spring gala, he said.
“It is fact, they support us by their actions,” Yi said.
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