COLLEGE PARK – White supremacy: coming to a college near you.
Earlier this week, white supremacist flyers popped up on walls around the University of Maryland campus, as well as George Washington University in Washington, D.C., telling students it’s their duty to report illegal immigrants and protect “White America.”
The group Vanguard America is suspected in connection with the flyers, as a link to its website was found on the leaflets. One flyer said, “It is your civic duty to report any and all illegal aliens. They are criminals. America is a white nation,” while another aimed at “White America” called on them to “carry the torch of your people.”
According to The Washington Post, it was the third time in three months white supremacist flyers have been found on the College Park campus. In an email to The Post, a Vanguard America representative said the group hopes to “raise awareness amongst college students regarding the problems facing the world today, and to advocate for a National Socialist solution to these problems.”
The growing number of reported incidents on local college campuses has been reflected across the country. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has noted a surge in white supremacist propaganda in recent months. As of March 6, the ADL has catalogued more than 107 incidents of these and similar flyers on American college campuses since September. Vanguard America’s was website was linked to the majority of the posters and the organization claimed responsibility for the flyers at GWU.
On its group’s website, bloodandsoil.org, there is a manifesto that has an excerpt titled “A Nation For Our People.” The selection reads: “A multicultural nation is no nation at all, but a collection of smaller ethnic nations ruled over by an overbearing tyrannical state. Our America is to be a nation exclusively for the White American peoples who out of the barren hills, empty plains, and vast mountains forged the most powerful nation to ever have existed; it is logical that America must be once again built from the ground up to recapture the glory an Aryan nation deserves.”
But at a university in a minority-majority county, the flyers have done little more than create pushback.
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh did not find the attempt to “raise awareness” in good taste.
“The white nationalist posters found on college campuses, including our own, contain detestable language that is an affront to who we are, and what we stand for, as the state’s flagship university,” Loh said in a statement on March 14. “As a community, we stand for excellence, diversity and inclusion. We stand against all forms of ignorance and hate. (The University of Maryland Police Department) is investigating this matter as a hate bias.”
George Washington University President Steven Knapp expressed similar sentiments in a March 15 statement, which said the university is actively engaging in activities designed to celebrate diversity.
“You may have noticed the blue and white ‘You Are Welcome Here’ signs around campus that, in various languages, welcome students and visitors from all communities to our university,” he said. “These signs reaffirm our values and our commitment to educating citizen leaders equipped to thrive and to serve in our increasingly diverse and global society. They stand in sharp contrast to the flyers promoting a racially exclusive vision of America that have been appearing on campuses across the nation, including our Foggy Bottom Campus. Those fliers have been posted without authorization and have been removed whenever they have been discovered.
“We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that all members of our university community enjoy an environment conducive to civil discourse, free from expressions of hatred and acts of intimidation,” he added.
And University of Maryland students have also expressed discomfort with the flyer’s presence on their campus.
Senior Jasmine Snead, a government and politics major, questioned the safety of the Maryland campus.
“It makes me feel like nowhere is a safe place anymore,” she said. “Our campus is supposed to be a sanctuary for undocumented students. Our state passed the Maryland Dream Act years ago and we live in one of the most liberal states in the U.S., but instances like this are still common. Instead of targeting undocumented Terps, we need to fight for them.”
Dashaun Horshaw, a junior studying mechanical engineering, said the posters made him think about how common white supremacist views could be on the campus.
“Seeing these signs reminds you that people who think like this are everywhere, even at this school,” he said. “You could sit next to them in class or walk past them around campus while they secretly think you don't belong here. That you shouldn’t have the same things they have.”
Deneria Ali, a senior, felt as if some members of society still do not feel that all lives are created equal.
“I think it’s a shame. It feels like we still live in a society that values white lives more than others; because I’m not white I’m considered less human,” she said.
In addition to student pushback, alumni of the university have also voiced their concern with the growing number of incidents on the school’s campus.
Del. Jazz Lewis (D-24), a UMD alumnus, sent a statement that said he was “deeply saddened by the recent news of hateful flyers on campus,” calling the incident “very serious.” The statement said fellow alumni Dels. Dereck Davis, Erek Barron, Carlo Sanchez, Alonzo Washington, and Michael Jackson shared that sentiment. U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) also released a statement condemning the flyers and supporting Loh’s actions.
Lewis did so as well.
“I stand with President Loh in denouncing this type of hate rhetoric and propaganda. I stand in support of the students, staff and the university’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and maintaining a safe campus environment for all students, staff and guests,” Lewis said. “Maryland’s flagship university is a model for unity and these posters do not reflect the university or our state. As a proud alum and former student activist while on campus, I know that which binds us together is always greater than that which doesn’t.”