ADL Reports Rise in White Supremacist Activity on College Campuses

According to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism, white supremacist propaganda on US college campuses is growing. The report, which was released on June 27, found that cases of white supremacist propaganda on campuses grew 7 percent during the 2018-2019 from the 2017-2018 academic year. There were 292 cases recorded during the 2017-2018 school year and 313 cases documented by the ADL the following year.

There was a particular spike in activity in the 2019 spring semester, the organization said in a press release. From January to May 2019, ADL documented 161 incidents in 122 different campuses across 33 states and the District of Columbia.ADL chief executive officer Jonathan Greenblatt told USA Today that the rise of white supremacist flyers, stickers, and posters show that hate groups are trying to recruit young, impressionable minds. Extremists then document their flyering efforts on social media to attempt to attract new followers and media attention, ADL said in its report.

“A campus should be an environment for exploration and for learning, but it should not be a testing ground for racist rhetoric,” Greenblatt said. “It should be a laboratory for ideas, not for intolerance.”

California witnessed the most incidents, with 34 cases recorded by the ADL. Kentucky (18), Oklahoma (16), Ohio (13), and Utah (10) followed the list of states with the highest number of incidents.According to the ADL’s latest report, nearly all the campus propaganda is from groups that align themselves with the alt-right segment of the white supremacist movement. Identity Evropa, which rebranded as the American Identity Movement (AIM) in March, was behind 71 percent of all campus propaganda during the 2018-2019 school year.

The group was responsible for 57 incidents under the banner of Identity Evropa and 58 incidents as AIM. After its name change, the group pivoted from European-focused propaganda and instead advocated for the preservation of “white culture.” Meanwhile, Patriot Front was responsible for 30 incidents of white supremacist propaganda during the 2019 spring semester. Patriot Front is known for using patriotism, including messages such as “reclaim America,” “keep America American,” and “not stolen conquered,” to promote neo-facist ideology.Lesser known groups also targeted college campuses with racist and anti-Semitic flyers. The Daily Stormer Book Clubs shared anti-Semitic flyers in three campuses that suggested Jewish people control the media and that “all hate crimes are hoaxes.” Two campuses were targeted by the Church of Creativity with flyers that read, “It’s alright to be white.”

Greenblatt told USA Today that university officials should respond to incidents of white supremacist propaganda quickly and strongly. He also suggested training on bias incidents.Incidents of white supremacist propaganda also soared off campus. In the first five months of 2019 alone, ADL documented 672 incidents compared to 868 incidents in all of 2018. Off campus, Patriot Front was responsible for nearly two-thirds (440) of the propaganda incidents. Identity Evropa/AIM followed with 158 documented incidents.

Other propaganda efforts have been led by the Loyal White Knights, Daily Stormer Book Clubs, and the New Jersey European Heritage Association. According to ADL, the New Jersey European Heritage Association, which was responsible for 12 incidents this year, has spread beyond New Jersey to Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.According to USA Today, some of the propaganda spread included attacks on Jews, Black people, Muslims and non-white immigrants. Other flyers led people to websites with white supremacist content.

White supremacist propaganda efforts have continuously grown over the last three years, beginning in January 2016. ADL reported 165 cases during the 2016-2017 academic year. The distribution of racist, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic flyers rose 77 percent in the following year to 292 cases reported.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.