Police at Rice University in Houston, Texas, are investigating after racist flyers showing the four Democratic congresswomen known as “The Squad” appeared on campus this week.
“Send them back!” the flyers read. “Deport the commie brown infestation.”
Students reported seeing the flyers taped up Thursday on an entrance sign, as well as near Baker College and Will Rice College, FOX 26 reports.
The lawmakers caricatured on the flyers are Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, KTRK reported. The flyers “purport to be from the hate group Daily Stormer,” according to the TV station.
On Twitter and at campaign rallies, President Donald Trump has elevated and criticized the freshmen lawmakers who make up the so-called “Squad,” all of whom are women of color. He wrote on Twitter in July that they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Just days after that tweet, when Trump spoke about Omar at a North Carolina rally, chants of “send her back” erupted in the crowd, McClatchy news group reported. Omar is a U.S. citizen who was born in Somalia.
One Rice student posted a photo of the racist flyer on Twitter, writing that he was “utterly disgusted” and “heartbroken.”
Rice President David Leebron responded to the student directly, writing that “this is indeed disgusting. It would be so at any time and any place, but especially offensive just before our new students arrive.”
Leebron said the school is investigating.
“One person did observe a person tacking the flyer to entrance 20 and reported it,” Leebron wrote. “The flyer posted appears to be the same as one posted at several Seattle synagogues & churches a few days ago. These particular posters appear to originate with a neo-Nazi org. It is, as you say, heartbreaking that such people feel empowered to commit such despicable acts.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the flyers in Seattle were reportedly put up by a masked man last weekend.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of Harris County, which encompasses Houston, thanked the Rice student for tweeting out the flyer.
“We don’t want to see anyone spreading hate speech so we’re definitely concerned, and we follow these trends,” Rice University Police Captain Clemente Rodriguez said, according to KTRK. “We want to be on top of it, and in case this foreshadows something else more serious we want to prevent that.”