Tuesday, 19 March 2019 12:14

Controversial signs put up near campus

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LEWISTON (WGME) - Deplorable, disgusting and intolerable -- that's what Bates College students are saying about signs that were put up near campus.

The signs read, "It's Okay to be White," but to many, the signs are far from okay.


Bates students said they woke up Sunday to several white supremacist signs posted on utility poles all around the campus.


"I think it's most likely not a student at Bates," a Bates student said.


Lewiston police said that most of the signs read, "It's Okay to be White" -- a neo-Nazi slogan often spread on college campuses and one that Bates students called offensive.


"It makes especially the people of color on campus very uncomfortable," one student said.


Another student, Antonio Heredia Soto, said he is from a Mexican background.


"Values in the United States condemn that type of behavior," he said. 


 Police said they believe whoever put the signs up wanted to cause trouble.


"It all was targeted, I think, to stir up controversy, obviously," said Sgt. Derrick St. Laurent of the Lewiston Police Department.


The signs were quickly taken down.


"By the time we got there, a lot of the signs had been taken down, so I think we were only able to grab a handful of them," St. Laurent said.


In a statement, Bates College officials said they "condemn any attempt to incite hatred and bigotry based on race, as contrary to Bates' most deeply held values."


A student said they were glad the school took quick action because the matter was one that needed to be dealt with.


Lewiston police said the signs did not appear to rise to the level of a hate crime.


"Right now, all we have is a city ordinance violation. In the city of Lewiston, it's illegal to post things on utility poles," St. Laurent said.


Lewiston police asked anyone with information about the signs to call them.



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