UC Santa Cruz printers received another series of offensive fliers targeting communities on campus on Aug. 22. This is the third instance this year that printers have been hacked. In March, 104 printers were and again in August, 48 were. The fliers printed Aug. 22 targeted only two printers, though Oweis said some printers may not be accounted for.
“These ones are a little bit different,” said UCSC Police Chief Nader Oweis. “Yesterday they changed in tone to target Muslims.”
The previously printed fliers were anti-Semitic, showing swastikas, the web address to a neo-Nazi group and mentioning “the struggle for global white supremacy.” Andrew Auernheimer, a computer hacker who goes by the name “Weev,” claimed responsibility for the fliers printed in March and Oweis says that he is allegedly responsible for the recent fliers as well.
“We are working with campus security to find a way to fix this,” Oweis said. “It helps us when people see these types fliers and report them so we can see if the printer is repeating.”
UC Berkeley, along with at least a dozen other universities across the country, received these offensive fliers on more than one occasion. According to the New York Times, Auernheimer said he sent the fliers to every publicly accessible printer in North America and that he did not specifically target college campuses.
“I was interested in what is on the flier because of its impact on the community, but it could also instill fear in everyone,” said Muslim Students Association President Shyaan Khan. “This is becoming a national and worldwide problem.
At UCSC, Oweis said that staff are the only people who have seen the fliers and no students have turned them in. UCSC alumnus and former Jewish Student Union member Spencer Johnswick said that although he has not yet seen the new printed fliers, the fliers targeting Jewish community aren’t to be taken seriously.
“It was very clear to me that it was not serious. That some idiot, well not an idiot — some very intelligent hacker –– printed what would incite the most reaction,” Johnswick said of the first two fliers that were printed.
UCSC continues to work with Information Technology Services to establish a more secure connection to the campus printers. Regardless of the hacker’s intent, the nature of the fliers has more than some of the UCSC community concerned.
“It’s definitely shocking to us,” said Muslim Students Association President Shyaan Khan. “This is my second year and the first direct attack we have had with regards to Islamophobia. Hate messages are increasing, and the biggest way to stop it is education. That is something that [MSA] hopes to do.”