The Georgetown University Police Department is investigating flyers posted on and off campus this weekend advertising a “Frito Bandito Party” to be hosted last night, which featured phrases misattributed to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump regarding immigrants.
The flyers included the address of a private residence off Georgetown’s campus, as well as a phone number with a message to call for a sombrero that directed to American University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Students reported sightings of the flyers in the Healey Family Student Center, the Intercultural Center, Red Square, hallways in Alumni Square residence halls and townhouse mail slots on N Street NW.
The image of Frito Bandito, a mascot for Fritos corn chips from 1967 to 1971, is accompanied by lyrics to a Frito Bandito commercial.
In addition, the flyers featured an image of Trump and a quote: “The Donald says, ‘You Illegal Aliens can come over the wall for this one! We didn’t invite ICE this time … and don’t forget your Taco, it’s Yuge!’”
The university administration has condemned the flyers. Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson said administrators are following up with any students affected by the messages the flyer communicated.
“We learned about these very troubling and offensive flyers earlier today, and have been following up with students who are affected and who have raised concerns,” Olson wrote in an email to The Hoya.
GUPD Chief Jay Gruber said the Criminal Investigations Unit is investigating the incident.
“As next week’s presidential election nears and national political tensions run high, we ask that all members of our community treat each other with respect and dignity,” Groves wrote.
Members from Casa Latina declined to comment on the flyers.
The flyers have also appeared at American University, according to Alumni Square resident Jawad Pullin (COL ’18).
Pullin said he was leaving his home when he noticed one of the flyers in his hallway.
“It’s actually the second time I’ve come across the photo. A friend of mine showed me the photo and said he first saw it from his friend at American University,” Pullin said.
Georgetown University Student Association President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) said she was shocked to see the flyers.
“Seeing those flyers and getting some texts about them today, quite frankly, I’m shocked and it was disturbing to see something like that,” Khan said. “I think regardless of the source, whether this was something developed and disseminated off campus or on campus, it was upsetting. My heart goes out to and I stand with the students who felt affected. I think that kind of speech is not OK on our campus.”
Khan said GUSA has been in contact with Gruber, Olson and Assistant Dean for Student Engagement Erika Cohen-Derr on how to formally address the situation in a universitywide email sometime Thursday.
“We will be releasing something either very late [Monday] or [today] on our Facebook and we will be releasing a statement in our email, which comes out on Thursday,” Khan said. “I want to reiterate the point that there are certain conversations we need to have on campus about what is acceptable and what toes the line of free speech and hate speech.”
GUSA Free Speech Policy Team Chair D.J. Angelini (MSB ’17) said GUSA is planning on how to best support students following the incident.
“It’s been incredibly disheartening to see the offensive, crude and destructive posters containing targeted language posted in the ICC today,” Angelini wrote in an email to The Hoya. “GUSA is actively collaborating with administrators and members of policy teams to understand the negative implications of such a posting and how we move forward from here.”
GUSA Vice President Chris Fisk (COL ’17) said the flyers went beyond the boundaries of free speech.
“It’s disheartening,” Fisk wrote in an email to The Hoya. “No one’s against free speech, in fact that’s how we are able to constructively engage different ideas here. But openly making discriminatory or offensive comments targeted at a specific group’s identity and culture is just disrespectful. This wasn’t an example of someone expressing their point of view or opinion on an issue, it was, really, just a deliberate insult.”
Khan said she will push to raise awareness of the line between free speech and hate speech.
“Again, we will be expressing our disappointment with this kind of biased speech. Additionally, we will be outlining the resources we have on our campus for students who are affected and impacted by something so disturbing and hateful,” Khan said.
This post has been updated.