Fliers linked to a white supremacist group were found this week on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park, authorities said, part of what appears to be a new effort targeting colleges in several states.
The fliers featured the logo of American Vanguard, a group associated with white supremacy. One read “We have a right to exist” and another read “Defending your people is a social duty not an anti-social crime.”
“We hear it every day: ‘Whiteness’ is evil, and must be destroyed,” the group said in a statement on its website. “Our religion, our traditions, and our identity are dragged through the mud by the globalist establishment while millions of nonwhites flood our nation every year. If current trends continue, White Americans will be a minority by 2044. It’s time to take a stand.”
As first reported in the school’s Diamondback newspaper, University of Maryland police responded to Marie Mount Hall at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday for a report of vandalism and discovered several fliers posted at the main entrance and the south entrance. Another set of fliers was discovered posted to pillars at Tydings Hall at around 10 a.m. Monday, a spokesman for the University of Maryland Police said, and the fliers at both locations were removed.
A spokesman for University of Maryland Police said the fliers would be investigated as vandalism and might be considered a hate incident.
American Vanguard, based in California, has posted fliers on other U.S. campuses, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Its posters were found at Purdue University in Indiana, the University of Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and Emerson College in Massachusetts in recent weeks, the ADL said.
Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s center on extremism, said he has been seeing a proliferation of white supremacist, alt-right messaging at college campuses around the country in recent weeks. “It seems to be an extension of this effort by the alt-right and their supporters to try to reach younger audiences,” he said.
Segal also said some white supremacists have perceived Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election as a victory for their cause, leading to hate incidents around the country. “I feel like the alt-right in general thinks this is the time to pounce,” he said.
A person who responded to messages at one of American Vanguard’s Twitter accounts said he founded the group last year. He said the group has 100 members around the country, and four in the College Park area, including two on campus. He said the group recruits on social media and has garnered attention for posting fliers at nine college campuses so far. He corresponded with The Washington Post and agreed to comment on condition of anonymity, saying that he fears reprisals.
“I’ve seen my hometown flooded with immigrants, my family struggle financially and Marxist garbage taught in our schools,” he said in a message. “I’ve been waiting for a real American nationalist group for years, but I came to the realization that I’d have to do it myself.”
Angela Harmon, an academic and administrative coordinator in the school’s economics department, said she was surprised to see the fliers on the university’s suburban Washington campus.
“This is a really diverse and multicultural campus,” said Harmon, who filed a report about the fliers with campus police. “I thought it was a safe place for people of color and religious minorities.”
The university also issued a statement in response to the fliers:
“As an institution of higher education, we are committed to the core values of diversity and inclusiveness and do not condone hateful language. Even in difficult situations, however, we honor the right to freedom of speech.”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Justin Wm. Moyer