ADL Report: Florida Group Part Of “Unprecedented Recruitment Efforts” By White Supremacists On College Campuses

In a press release on Monday (March 6), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported that they had cataloged 107 incidents of white supremacist organizations putting up recruitment materials on American college campuses this school year, including eight incidents in Florida. Of those, 65 (61 percent) have occurred since January 1st of this year.

“White supremacists have consciously made the decision to focus their recruitment efforts on students and have in some cases openly boasted of efforts to establish a physical presence on campus. While there have been recruitment efforts in the past, never have we seen anti-Semites and white supremacists so focused on outreach to students on campus,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL.

Incidents of recruitment flyers on campuses have been reported in at least 25 states, as white supremacist groups continue to make a concerted effort to branch out from the digital realm.

Among the groups identified by the ADL as having the most activity on college campuses are: Identity Evropa, an “alt-right” group who wants to preserve “white American culture and European identity”, American Renaissance, whose leader Jared Taylor, encourages “racial activists” to place posters in high traffic areas on campuses “because they are bastions of anti-white propaganda” and Vanguard America, a group with roots in southern California who has been the most prolific at flyering colleges so far in 2017.

Vanguard America’s activity has placed them prominently on the latest Hate Map from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), including the designation of a Florida chapter in Orlando due to an incident last November on the campus of University of Central Florida (UCF) in which members littered the school with more than 30 flyers and prompted UCF vice-president Maribeth Ehasz to send out a school-wide email condemning “any form of hate, discrimination and injustice.”

Sunday (March 5th) on FaceBook, the group acknowledged their activity at American colleges in a boastful post where they called for prospective members to “get organized with your fellow American Fascists to reclaim this nation.”

A manifesto on the group’s website expresses overtly white supremacist themes and states in part: “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.”

Keegan Hankes, the managing data intelligence analyst for the SPLC, has been tracking the activities of Vanguard America and in a phone interview last week with Tampa Bay Social Action said, “We’ve had a difficult grip getting an estimate on their size. We listed 8 to 10 chapters on our Hate Map this year and a lot of that was based on activities on college campuses. The biggest thing that I’ve seen them engaging in is going to college campuses and putting up posters and advertising. It seems to me like most of these individuals are going onto the Vanguard America homepage, printing out templates they have and then distributing them on campuses.”

Vanguard America members were also responsible for putting up “Muslim-free America” flyers at Rutgers University and the University of Texas in Austin in February, but for now appear to remain small in numbers and haven’t done much other than try and recruit members and seek attention according to Hankes.

“It’s the path of least resistance they could choose. They go and hang up these posters in the dead of night and then they get a couple of newspaper articles written about them and they get free advertising,” said Hankes. “That seems to be their strategy by-and-large. I don’t know what their membership lists look like, but from the research I’ve done, most of the chapters are very, very small, basically just a handful of guys out there with tape and printouts.”

You can read the full report by the Anti-Defamation League: “White Supremacists on Campus: Unprecedented Recruitment Efforts Underway” here.

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