Two fliers in the Toscana apartment complex near UCI were posted in elevators last week, calling for African-American residents to keep noise levels down throughout the night.
The flier’s explicit mention of African-American residents as a cause of increased noise levels propelled the flyer onto social media, where it drew controversy for being the latest in a pattern of anti-Black racism in the Irvine area.
The first two paragraphs of the flier asked residents to be mindful of their fellow neighbors. The flier went on to cite multiple complaints about “noise levels” throughout the complex after 10:00 p.m. and asked residents to lower “the volume of stereos and televisions.”
The third and fourth paragraphs, in bolded text, stated, “We would like to remind our African-American residents to keep conversation volume down and reduce music levels between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Multiple complaints have been made regarding this issue.”
Bearing the Equity Residential logo on the bottom-right corner, the fliers were posted inside two different elevators inside the Toscana Apartment Homes near campus.
A UC Irvine student and Toscana resident with the username “teyent_theequeenb” photographed the flyer in the elevator. After the student posted the picture of one flyer on Instagram Thursday evening, the photo went viral. The user eventually posted another photo showing a second flier in an elevator in the same building within the complex.
Following the post of the second flier on social media, teyent_theequeenb posted a video saying, “This is what it means to be black in Irvine: generalizations.”
The resident also mentioned that her apartment building, out of the entire complex, was the only one to have the flier posted in the elevators.
Equity Residential, a national housing complex company that owns Toscana Apartments, along with other properties throughout the country, has denied association with the racially charged flier.
“Equity did not create or post this flyer. We are outraged by its content and are actively investigating its source,” the company said on Twitter.
Equity Residential representative Marty McKenna explained the flier was a fake. According to McKenna, Equity Residential notifies residents about noise complaints through email. The company and its apartment branches do not post warning fliers about noise disruptions.
When pressed about the two flyers in the apartment complex, an Equity Residential representative in Toscana Apartments mentioned that the company was not responsible for posting this message in the elevators or creating it.
The representative acknowledged that increased noise levels were not a significant issue throughout the apartments. The issue of volume existed, but not to the extent of receiving multiple complaints.
When asked to speculate as to who might have created and posted the flyers, the representative only said that investigations are ongoing.
A search on Friday morning failed to locate the fliers in either of the alleged elevators where they were placed.
According to UCI representative Tom Vasich, students of UC Irvine live in the Toscana Apartments, but the university is not connected with the housing complex and does not condone its message.
There have been various outcries from students, condemning the incident as an act of racially-motivated hate.
“It is an indication of how anti-black Irvine is and by extension Orange County, California, and the world,” said Mia Ogundipe-Tillman, co-chair of UCI’s Black Student Union.
“Anti-Black violence is so pervasive. This type of stuff happens all the time in Irvine.”
Ongundipe-Tillman said that BSU has addressed this this type of anti-Black racism on a structural level, with its demands put forth for the university.
“We made demands for a reason: to systematically address anti-black racism,” she said.
The Irvine Police Department visited the apartment complex on Friday in order to conduct investigations into the incident, along with aid from Toscana management.
The apartment complex’s management will make the final decision whether to evict the person if the individual lives in Toscana Apartments. On the other hand if the individual or group responsible for posting the fliers is not a member of the Toscana Apartments, Orange County Human Relations will document the affair.