University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols condemned the contents of Holocaust denial flyers that were posted around campus in recent days.
“We must acknowledge that the First Amendment allows expression that is so reprehensible that it must be answered,” she said in a statement Friday morning.
Holocaust denial is “simply false,” and part of a history of anti-Semitic behavior, the president said.
“Outrageously incorrect information such as that contained in the fliers has been used for decades by those who hold anti-Semitic views to harass the Jewish community,” Nichols said.
The flyers showed up in a number of buildings across campus and were removed, just as they were last year during Holocaust Remembrance Week at the university, a week sponsored by a student organization UW Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
The timing of the flyers is “no coincidence,” Nichols said.
Remembrance week surrounds the anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass, a country-wide ransacking of Jewish homes, businesses, cemeteries and synagogues that some refer to as the unofficial beginning of the Holocaust.
Holocaust survivor Estelle Nadel is speaking at the university Friday. The president encouraged students to attend.
Campus police are investigating the flyer incident. Though the contents of the flyers are protected speech, putting up handbills violates littering ordinances.
The college notified the Anti-Defamation League in Denver of the incident.
Nichols’ statement also praised the student body for its peaceful protest of a controversial guest speaker Thursday night, Dennis Prager, who gave a talk called “Why Socialism Makes People Selfish.”
Students had sought to cancel the event due to some of Prager’s outspoken views on women, race and politics. When they were unsuccessful, they held a protest outside the event.
“Both those students who supported and protested his visit to campus conducted themselves in the manner I expected,” the president said, “Showing respect for other perspectives while peacefully expressing their own views.”