According to The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), in the months following the U.S. presidential election, white nationalists have been targeting college campuses, including the University of Maryland’s College Park campus.
Fliers distributed by American Vanguard. Photo: Jessica Goldberg
The school’s Diamondback newspaper reported Wednesday that since December, there have been at least five reported incidents of white nationalist posters being found on the College Park campus, which university police are investigating as hate bias incidents.
The posters led to the website of American Vanguard, a white supremacist group formed in 2016. Slogans used included, “We have a right to exist” and “Defending your people is a social duty not an anti-social crime.”
The FBI is currently investigating whether the murder of Richard Collins III was a hate crime as his killer, University of Maryland student Sean Urbanski, is a member of the Facebook group “Alt-Reich: Nation,” which carries racially and sexually charged material.
Urbanski, who is white, killed Collins, who was Black, early Saturday morning on campus when Collins and his friends were waiting for an Uber ride to return home after a visit. Hewas charged with first- and second-degree murder, as well as first-degree assault, in the stabbing murder of Collins, who was a student at Bowie State University and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army last week.
The suspect, Sean Urbanski, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the stabbing death of Second Lt. Richard Collins III, 23, early on Saturday.
In December, a man who claimed that he founded American Vanguard told The Washington Post the group has 100 members around the country and four in the College Park area, including two on the University of Maryland campus.
“I’ve seen my hometown flooded with immigrants, my family struggle financially and Marxist garbage taught in our schools,” he said in a message to the Post. “I’ve been waiting for a real American nationalist group for years, but I came to the realization that I’d have to do it myself.”
SPLC stated that American Vanguard, based in Southern California, “urges white men to ‘take a stand’ against ‘globalist traitors’ who are ‘destroying your race and heritage through open borders, affirmative action, and Marxist ‘political correctness.'”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) stated that the American Vanguard website boasts of an ongoing “Northern Propaganda Campaign” that consists of placing posters. The campaign has been intentionally directed at young people, especially those on college campuses.
In February, the group also took responsibility for placing the same propaganda posters on college campuses around Texas.The Houston Chronicle reported that several of the posters referenced President Donald Trump’s campaign slogans: “What Made America Great Blood and soil. Keep it that way, join the Vanguard.”
In April, at the University of Maryland, a noose was found hanging in the kitchen of the Phi Kappa Tau chapter house on Fraternity Row. Similarly, at American University in Washington, D.C., which is less than 20 miles away, a noose-related incident is currently being investigated by the FBI as a hate crime.
Response to Racism on Campus
The number of hate bias incidents and hate crimes reported at the University of Maryland’s main campus has increased over the years. There were 21 total reports in 2015 and 2016, more than double the total in 2013 and 2014, according to university police reports.
The University of Maryland-College Park has approximately 26,532 students, which are 53 percent white, 16 percent Asian, 13 percent Black, 9 percent Latino and less than 1 percent American Indian.
In an email following Urbanski’s killing of Collins’, university President Wallace Loh sent out an email to the student body.
“We must all do more to nurture a climate on campus and beyond where we stand against hate, we fight against hate crimes, and we reaffirm the values that define us a university and as a democracy,” Loh said.
According to the school’s newspaper, he spoke at two news conferences following the killing and sent out two emails to the university community, outlining extra security on the campus and expressing his condolences.
Loh announcedon Wednesday new anti-hate initiatives, which includes establishing a hate-bias and campus safety task force.
But many students think Loh hasn’t done enough to address the prior racial incidents on campus. On Tuesday, members of theuniversity’scommunity began sharing their experiences of dealing with racism on campus by using the hashtag #FearTheTurtle on social media.
#FearTheTurtle being the only black man on the floor of my freshman dorm gave a coward the courage to call me the n word through the walls
Miles (@MilesHighClub_) May 22, 2017
when a UMPD officer whispered in my AfAm student’s ear: “I could f&ckin’ ruin your life right now if I wanted to.” #FearTheTurtle
jessica (@jluwrites) May 22, 2017
my first week in college park a white kid told me at a party that obama was a monkey & that all black girls were ugly #FearTheTurtle
beza (@itsBayzuh) May 22, 2017
UMD students constantly badmouth majority-minority Prince George’s County as ghetto and dangerous. #FearTheTurtle
Niko Schultz (@dblhappiness1) May 23, 2017