The card was shared on social media on Wednesday after a male member from the College Republicans club handed the bag of candy he received from the party to a group of female students. Mackenzie Flynn, president of the group, told Central Michigan Life that the member just wanted to pass off the candy and was unaware of the card’s existence.
One of the women in the group, Hannah Homrich, showed the anti-Semitic card to her friend Madison Rodriguez Eberth, who then posted photos of the card on Facebook.
“When I saw it, it really surprised me. I was so shocked by the message, and really upset that something like this could happen at my campus,” Eberth told BuzzFeed News. “As the leader of a feminist organization, I’m a huge advocate for equality for all people, and seeing something like this is so terrible. I felt like this wasn’t something I could just push aside.”
Flynn said the card came from a printed page of pre-designed Valentine’s Day card memes, and that the member who shared the card didn’t create it. However, a reverse image search of the raw image doesn’t yield an organized webpage (including the card in question) in a format that could be easily printed. Instead, the search results revealed two websites with the Hitler card.
Other cards featured on the sites include a Donald Trump meme that reads, “I wouldn’t deport you,” another meme featuring Hitler that says “Be Mein,” a card with Kurt Cobain that reads the Nirvana lyrics, “Rape me!”
In an apology posted to Facebook, the club stated that the offensive card was placed into a bag without other members knowing and that the club does not condone “this type of rhetoric or anti-Semitism.” The name of the student who shared the card has not been revealed.
On Thursday, the university’s president George E. Ross also issued a statement, saying the card does not represent the campus, nor the student organization from which it originated. Ross also said that multiple university entities were taking part in a “review” of the situation to determine which steps to take next.
“Such hurtful, offensive language, while protected by the First Amendment, is unacceptable and is not consistent with our values and standards,” his statement read. “We caution against concluding that the action is representative of the entire student organization or its members and remind all that threatening others as a result of such an incident can have legal consequences.”
In response to the card, CMU students held a rally on Thursday protesting hate speech. College Republicans members were also in attendance.
“It blew up pretty quickly on campus,” Olivia Cyman, a co-organizer of the rally, told the Morning Sun. “After everything went down, there were marginalized groups on campus who felt attacked and we just came out to show them support and help empower all the students that are here.”