White supremacist activity on college campuses have reached an all-time high, according to a new study from the Anti Deflamation League (ADL).
Over 1,200 cases of white supremacist activity were reported nationwide in 2018, including the distribution of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ flyers, stickers, banners and posters on campus.
Nearly 3,000 cases were reported nationwide in 2019. This averages to more than seven incidents per day.
The ADL claims this is the highest number of propaganda incidents they have ever reported.
“Propaganda allows white supremacists to maximize media and online attention, while limiting the risk of individual exposure, negative media coverage, arrests and public backlash that often accompanies more public events,” the study said.
The ADL said, nationwide, white supremacists have always leafleted campuses, but their campaign targeting college students ramped up 2016 and has continued since.
Steve Bequette, director of Public Safety, said USI’s campus had three reports both in 2018 and 2019.
There has been no reports of white supremacist flyer this semester.
“Universities are a convenient target because of who you have in mass in that community,” Bequette said. “It’s a wide variety or cornucopia of people from all walks of life and at that age who’s most impressionable.”
Some of the most common tactic white supremacist groups use is distributing flyers or posters.
The person leaving flyers on vehicles was caught on campus earlier this year, but the university chose not to identify them so they wouldn’t get the notoriety they’re looking for.
“Most American people don’t subscribe to their views or want to take the time to look at them,” Bequette said. “It’s disgusting. It’s terrible.”
The Creativity Alliance Group, a white supremacist group, has received a trespass letter from the university. The group could be arrested if they show up on campus again.
The group left flyers on cars at the University of Evansville which led to an individual fleeing from them, giving both universities a meager description of them.
“Obviously these people that are involved in this we believe are cowards because they won’t stand up and talk face to face about these issues,” Bequette said. “They’ll put it on flyers and run.”
Bequette said Public Safety monitors the groups’ social media formats as the groups post where they’ve been that day and try to be incognito about it.
Public Safety also monitors other universities around the region to see if they’ve had similar issues.
“That’s been extremely important to identifying other individuals that have been involved in different things,” Bequette said. “Because we’re not the only university that has been targeted by these individuals. If you see something, say something.”
Students are asked to assess the situation, call public safety immediately and take action. In a situation involving white supremacist flyers on campus, students are asked to observe and get a license plate or description of the person.
Bequette also recommended students know the university solicitation policy. The university doesn’t allow the distribution of posters without permission of the President’s Office.
The ADL mapped out each reported case from 2018-2019. In Evansville, there were 12 incidents involving white supremacist propaganda.