Surge in Campus Propaganda From White Supremacists

In fall 2017, 147 incidents were recorded, compared to 41 in fall 2016.

February 1, 2018
 

Colleges and universities are experiencing a surge in leaflets and posters from white supremacist groups, according to a report released today by the Anti-Defamation League.

The group reported that, since the beginning of 2016, various white supremacist groups have said that they have the goal of being more visible and sharing their propaganda on college campuses. Prior to 2016, such incidents were relatively rare, so it was late in the year that the ADL started tracking them.

In fall of 2016, 41 such incidents were reported. In the fall of 2017, however, 147 such incidents were reported.

Of the 346 incidents that the ADL has tracked since the start of 2016, 333 took place after Donald Trump was elected president.

Texas colleges and universities have seen more such incidents than those in any other state, the ADL found.

Image of poster saying "Just say no to Jewish lies. Solar Cross Society. Join the white gang."The posters that go up sometimes attack black people or immigrants. Many other times, the posters praise "European-American" civilization. Sometimes the posters feature Nazi ideas or sayings. Some of the phrases on the posters may appear innocuous, but others (such as the poster at right, which appeared at Cornell University in October) are explicitly seeking to promote bigotry against certain groups.

Some recent coverage from Inside Higher Ed of these incidents may be found here and here and here.

In the vast majority of cases, those who put up the posters are believed to be from off campus and don't necessarily have any campus ties. In many cases, even at public universities covered by the First Amendment, the posters violate rules about seeking permission to post, or posting only in designated areas.

Despite the reality that the posters and leaflets rarely come from campus groups, the appearance of these posters -- typically many on a single day -- has upset many students and faculty members.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, issued this statement on the report's findings: “White supremacists are targeting college campuses like never before. They see campuses as a fertile recruiting ground, as evident by the unprecedented volume of propagandist activity designed to recruit young people to support their vile ideology.”

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