The white nationalist group listed on fliers on the University of Maryland campus Monday said it is targeting campuses because they are “typically the domain of our Jewish enemies.”
University Police responded to posters in four locations Monday morning, which directed students to the website of Vanguard America, also known as American Vanguard. The person answering emails at the account listed on the group’s website sent The Diamondback the following statement:
“American Vanguard has always been active in raising awareness and advocating for Nationalism on campus, which is typically the domain of our Jewish enemies.”
University President Wallace Loh denounced the posters in a statement to The Diamondback.
“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,” he said. “As a community, we stand for excellence, diversity, and inclusion. We stand against all forms of ignorance and hate. UMPD is investigating this matter as a hate bias.”
About 43 percent of the university’s fall 2016 undergraduate class are minorities, and there are about 5,000 Jewish undergraduate students at this university, according to the Maryland Hillel website. Hillel International listed this university as having the third largest Jewish population of public universities in 2015.
Maryland Hillel sent The Diamondback the same statement they issued in response to the incidents of white nationalist fliers on campus in December.
“While freedom of speech and expression are central and vital to our campus community and to us as Americans, expression that crosses over into hate or bias speech is deeply disturbing,” Hillel said in a statement. “We will continue our close relationships with cultural, ethnic, religious, and political groups across campus, and modeling what cooperation and partnership between different communities in our country can look like.”
Jewish Student Union President Sam Fishman said he was glad to see the university respond quickly to the posters. The administration’s action is “essential right now,” given the rise of anti-Semitic acts in Maryland and across the country.
There have been 161 bomb threats called against Jewish institutions – including Jewish Community Centers, synagogues and schools – since the new year, according to ADL data. Jewish cemeteries have also been vandalized.
There have been 107 similar fliering incidents on college campuses since the school year began, according to a March 6 news release from the Anti-Defamation League.
“White supremacists are engaged in unprecedented outreach efforts on American college campuses – another sign that these hate groups feel emboldened by the current political climate,” the statement read.
This was the first time this semester that white nationalist posters have been reported on the campus, and University Police is investigating them as a “hate bias incident.” In December, similar posters were reported at Marie Mount Hall, Tydings Hall, the Lee Building and LeFrak Hall.
At the time, a member of American Vanguard told The Diamondback via Twitter that it was two university students who hung the posters.
The group’s manifesto states, “Our America is to be a nation exclusively for the White American peoples.” It adds that American should strive for an economy “free from the influence of international corporations, led by a rootless group of international Jews.”
The latest round of posters were glued on the Chemistry Building, Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building, in the courtyard between the A.V. Williams Building and the Computer Science Instructional Center and on a dumpster outside of Symons Hall.
One of the posters read, “Carry the torch of your people,” above four Aryan-looking men.
Another flier urged “white Americans” to “report any and all illegal aliens to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They are criminals. America is a white nation.”
Similar posters were also found this weekend at nearby George Washington University. The Vanguard America Twitter account posted Monday that they had a “Great day of action in Maryland and D.C. the other day. Expect to see more presence in the Northeast soon.”
Senior staff writer Jessie Campisi contributed to this report.