- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 1, 2016

A group that claims to advocate for the “reawakening of white racial consciousness” irked college students this week after posters advertising its principles appeared overnight throughout campuses in Florida and Indiana.

Fliers touting American Vanguard, an organization that describes itself on Twitter as being composed of “young white Americans defending our right and nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” first caused a stir after being spotted Monday morning across the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

One of the posters shows an illustration a white couple above the slogan: “We have a right to exist.” Another depicts a white man in handcuffs next to the phrases “White guilt,” and “Free yourself from cultural Marxism.”

UCF’s vice president, Maribeth Ehasz, sent out a campus-wide email in response Tuesday that condemned “any form of hate, discrimination and injustice. Central Florida Hillel, a local Jewish students’ group, said it was disheartened by the stunt and said it fears the posters “could lead to divisiveness and hatred on campus.”

Campus police had removed approximately 30 of the fliers from the university during the course of the week, a UFC spokeswoman told the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday.

That same day identical posters began appearing 1,000 miles away at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, provoking a similar response from school officials and triggering the college’s Social Justice Coalition to hold an emergency “No White Supremacy at Purdue” meeting later that evening.

“It’s about the scariest thing that I think can happen to a lot of people,” American studies professor Bill Mullen said at the gathering, WLFI News reported. “People at Purdue tonight — women, men, Jewish, Muslim, black, white — all feeling threatened by the appearance of a fascist group of people on this campus.”

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement Wednesday that a cursory glance of American Vanguard’s website made it clear that “views expressed there that are obviously inconsistent with the values and principles we believe in here at Purdue.”

“This is a transparent effort to bait people into overreacting, thereby giving a minuscule fringe group attention it does not deserve, and that we decline to do,” he added.

During the emergency meeting that evening, however, students and staffers took aim at Mr. Daniels for not explicitly denouncing the posters.

“Silence is a political statement, and that’s not the statement that I want him give out. I want him to be on the side of the oppressed,” student Octavia Nettles told WLFI News.

On Twitter, meanwhile, American Vanguard shared news reports about its posters and rejoiced in making the front page of the Daily Stormer, an infamous website tied to white supremacists.

“Isn’t it funny how saying Whites should exist is causing all this chaos?” American Vanguard said in a tweet that contained an image of one of its posters on display at Purdue.

“We never said anything about hate, but if you deny us our right to exist, you are an enemy that must be defeated,” American Vanguard said in response to Central Florida Hillel’s reaction this week.

Notwithstanding a surge in reported bias-involved incidents and alleged hate crimes in the weeks since Donald Trump was elected president, the appearance of fliers around UCF this week hardly marks the first time the school found itself at the center of a pro-white scandal. Campus police launched an investigation in November 2015 after stickers and fliers of swastikas and the Star of David were plastered across campus.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate-crime watchdog, said earlier this week that it was made aware of roughly 900 reports of harassment and intimidation in the 10 days proceeding Mr. Trump’s election. Madeleine Henry, the head of Purdue’s School of Languages and Cultures, said faculty notified the SPLC this week following the discovery of the pro-white posters across campus.

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