Yellow sticky notes posted in the window of a resident’s room in Clark Hall declared “Heil Manziel.” It was a nod to speculation that Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel might play in the proposed XFL football league in 2020.
— ✭Peter A✭ (@Peter_Aschoff) January 26, 2018
The hashtag was trending on Twitter, but a passerby saw the word “heil” and misunderstood the meaning of the display. The phrase “Sieg Heil,” or “hail victory” and “Heil Hitler,” or “hail Hilter” were used in Nazi Germany and are considered offensive by many.
The student who posted the note spoke on the condition of anonymity because they worried some people might lash out. The student said they “feel terrible” about the unintended negative interpretation of their use of the hashtag.
They said “heil” was in the hashtag because of how it’s spelled.
“It was close to his name,” they said.
— Evan Young (@TheEvanWalker) January 25, 2018
The sticky notes weren’t up for long. After TCU police arrived, the student took them down “immediately.” The first-year said they didn’t hesitate to remove it once they understood how others saw it.
“I said of course, I’ll do anything you need me to do,” they said.
Eric Collazo, a first-year international economics major and a Clark Hall resident, said the display was taken the wrong way. He said he saw the sign as praise for Manziel.
“I’m a Johnny Manziel fan,” Collazo said. “Other people have their own perspective on things.”
Craig Allen, the director of housing & residence life, said in an email HRL has a policy against window displays in the student handbook. According to the TCU student handbook, residents aren’t allowed to put up posters, banners or signs in TCU housing windows.
“Per our policy, we would ask students not to post things in windows,” Allen said. “However, this is not a poster or banner, so it is possible the student did not intend to violate any policy.”
Brennan Lafferty, a senior philosophy major, said the sticky note sign was inappropriate.
“Manziel didn’t even go to TCU,” he said. “He went to Texas A&M.”
He also said the word heil could be considered offensive.
“Overall, there’s just not enough reason for it to stay up.”