Students at Missouri State University are outraged after a school poster campaign sought to shame those who are straight, white, male, or Christian, and informed students that the police only exist to protect white men.
According to a report from Fox News, the posters were part of a "Check your privilege" diversity awareness campaign and were sponsored by Missouri State's Residence Hall Association and Student Government Association.
The posters were placed inside a dorm on Saturday morning, and each one makes a statement and then checks off which "privilege" boxes are in play: White, male, class, Christian, cisgender, able-bodied and heterosexual.
"If you're confident that the police exist to protect you, you have white male privilege," reads one poster.
"If you can expect time off from work to celebrate your religious holidays, you have Christian privilege," reads another, according to the Daily Caller.
Another poster instructed students to check their privilege if they aren't transgender: "If you can use public bathrooms without stares, fears or anxiety, you have cisgender privilege."
The posters also included included a definition of privilege in the lower right-hand corner: "unearned access to social power based on membership in a dominant social group."
Many students expressed their outrage over the campaign on Twitter, with some using the hashtag "#MyLiberalCampus."
"Absolutely pathetic that @MissouriState would approve and promote a message of this magnitude. Absolutely pathetic," wrote one student.
"Apparently, it's not politically correct anymore to be proud of being a straight, white, Christian male," wrote another.
The Springfield News-Leader reveals that MSU officials said that the posters at the were originally part of a joint awareness campaign during the 2014-15 school year. While the bulletin boards are cleared off at the end of each semester, leftover posters were posted again at some point this semester and have since been removed.
In a blog posted, MSU President Clif Smart defended the campaign and explained that it was designed to encourage students to "think about the difference of being white versus non-white or heterosexual or LGBTQ or able versus disabled or Christian versus non-Christian and how these identities affect day-to-day interactions and experiences."
He added, "At Missouri State, we encourage free speech and healthy debate. The impact of race, religion, disability and sexual orientation on our lives and certain actions of police officers in impoverished urban areas are all important topics to think about and discuss at our university."
MSU is not the only taxpayer-funded university to hold a "Check your privilege" diversity awareness campaign: Breitbart notes that marketing posters at Virginia Tech, Oregon University, and the University of San Francisco in the past suggested that Christians get unearned advantages.
While those behind the campaign contend that the posters weren't intended to shame those with "privilege," students have complained that the posters are dividing students - not bringing them together.
"Today, I was diagnosed with privilege. Symptoms: white, Christian, straight, 'cisgender,' and able bodied," a conservative student activist at Virginia tech wrote.
"Virginia Tech deciding who does and does not have privilege is not okay. Going up to a sign and reading that you should 'check your privilege' just because of the situations you were born into, and paths you have chosen for your life, is categorizing and dividing people further."