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White Supremacist Propaganda on College Campuses Rises 77% Over Past 9 Months: ADL Report

Denver, CO, June 28, 2018 … White supremacist groups continued to escalate their propaganda campaign targeting U.S. college campuses last year, including campuses in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. According to new data released today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the number of incidents increased nationwide by 77 percent during the 2017-2018 academic year.

  • From Sept. 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018, ADL’s Center on Extremism documented 292 cases of white supremacist propaganda on college campuses — including fliers, stickers, banners, and posters — compared to 165 during the 2016-17 academic year. Since Sept. 1, 2016, ADL has recorded 478 propaganda incidents, targeting 287 college campuses in 47 states and the District of Columbia.
  • The report documented 13 incidents of white supremacist propaganda distribution in Colorado on eight campuses across the state. There were five reported incidents on three campuses in Wyoming and one incident on one campus in New Mexico, according to the report.

“We support a free and open exchange of ideas on college campuses, but the distribution of white supremacist propaganda is intended to threaten, intimidate and effectively shut down respectful dialogue,” said ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott L. Levin. “We encourage campus officials to exercise their own free speech rights in condemning the distribution of racist literature.”

The propaganda messages range from veiled white supremacist language to explicitly racist images and words that attack minority groups, including Jews, Blacks, Muslims, non-white immigrants and the LGBT community. Some recent examples focus on the baseless perception of danger posed by undocumented immigrants traveling toward the Mexican-American border.

“College campuses and their communities should be places for learning, growing and the future, not close-minded racism and hate-filled rhetoric from the past,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “We’re concerned to see that white supremacists are accelerating their efforts to target schools with propaganda in hopes of recruiting young people to support their bigoted worldview.”

Identity Evropa (IE), a group focused on the preservation of “white American culture” and the promotion of white European identity, was responsible for nearly half (230) of the 478 incidents. Patriot Front — which was formed within the last year — was responsible for 70 incidents.

“It’s always important for university administrators to respect and protect free speech, but it’s equally vital that they take the necessary steps to counter the hateful messages of these groups,” Greenblatt said. “These steps can include educating faculty and students on the parameters of their First Amendment rights, and also improving training for campus officials charged with responding to bias incidents and hate crimes.”

Along those lines, ADL recently launched “Hate Uncycled” – a resource for campus administrators intended to serve as a guide to addressing incidents from many lenses, including prevention, preparation, response, healing, and education. The vision is to dismantle the complexities of bias and hate through regular assessment and implementation of campus climate initiatives and incident response practices.

In addition to on-campus activity, white supremacist groups have stepped up their propaganda efforts in other public spaces, targeting locations such as highway overpasses (see the March 2018 ADL report about this trend). ADL has recorded 185 non-campus propaganda distributions since January 2018 — an average of more than one incident every day so far this year.

“Our data shows that white supremacists’ propaganda campaign continues to accelerate, both on and off campus, online and on the ground,” said Oren Segal, director of the Center on Extremism. “The alt-right segment of the white supremacist movement remains a driving force behind this activity.”

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate. ADL’s Mountain States Region covers Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. More at http://denver.adl.org

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