Mason responds, does not publicly rescind admission
BY LAURA SCUDDER, CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
University Life Vice President Rose Pascarell and Dean of Admissions Amy Takayama-Perez released a statement regarding the admission of incoming freshman Andrew Brewer on Friday. It stated that they understand students’ concerns but “do not anticipate having any more specific comment on this situation.” Mason has not publicly rescinded Brewer’s admission.
The statement comes after students started a petition to rescind Brewer’s admission in light of information about his attempts to join Patriot Front, a white supremecist hate group formed in the aftermath of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. in 2017.
A blog post published by the Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists detailed Brewer’s attempt to join what he thought was Patriot Front in March — but it was actually a “honeypot,” an intentional trap meant to expose individuals under investigation. The blog contains audio and photo evidence of Brewer’s ties to neo-fascist beliefs.
Mason student James Byng posted a link to this blog in GMU Generalposting on Facebook on June 10, where it gained traction within the Mason community.
“My girlfriend had seen a screenshot of the article somewhere on Twitter and sent it to me, so the two of us looked for the article. She ended up finding it and just reading the whole thing while listening to those audio logs. I wasn’t comfortable with the student population at such a diverse campus not knowing about this threat,” Byng wrote in a message to Fourth Estate.
Rising junior Zachary Wolfson started the petition on Change.org after learning of Brewer’s history. As of June 13, it had over 4,000 signatures.
“When I learned that self-identified white supremacist and neo-Nazi Andrew Brewer will be attending my university, I recognized he is a danger to the Jewish community and many other communities at Mason,” Wolfson wrote in an email.
He continued, “Having experienced anti-semitism as a Jewish student, I understand that Andrew’s desire to join Patriot Front and statements to ‘remove minorities,’ advocate the usage of concentration camps, and casually write ‘sieg heil’ incite violence. I started this petition because I believe GMU will only take action if the student body demands it and adamantly rejects this racist conduct.”
Students took to social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to denounce Brewer’s admission. Some, including the GMU Republicans, received backlash on Twitter after urging students to sign the petition.
Hugely important to all GMU/NOVA area students and citizens. We can not let a Nazi get on our campus. Please go out and sign this petition! https://t.co/mamVOorXKi
— GMU Republicans (@GMUReps) June 11, 2020
“If GMU’s administration and Office of Admissions do not rescind Andrew Brewer’s admissions offer, they are complicit in upholding racism, anti-semitism, and white supremacy,” Wolfson wrote. “Furthermore, as a Jew I will get the message loud and clear: George Mason University does not want or value me as a student. I fully intend to escalate this issue if the university ignores our plea.”
Backlash from Brewer’s admission comes as other schools, including the University of Florida and Xavier University, have rescinded admission to students who have posted racist comments on social media.