Flyers with slogans from a white nationalist group were found on several floors of Gladfelter and Anderson halls last week. This is the second incident involving white nationalists promoting themselves on campus in a month and a half.
Some flyers headed with the phrase “You will not replace us” depicted a white woman holding an infant and included links to multiple organizations with ties to white supremacy. Other flyers named an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has characterized as an “Active White Nationalist Hate Group.”
To minimize the spread of hate speech, The Temple News is not naming the group that created the flyers.
Temple Police are still in the early stages of an investigation into who placed the flyers within Gladfelter and Anderson, said Charlie Leone, the executive director of Campus Safety Services.
He added that because there are not many cameras on the higher floors in either building, it would be difficult for TUPD to pinpoint who distributed the posters.
“On the outside there’s a lot of volume coming in,” Leone said. “Nothing that we’ve looked at so far that really was telltale saying, ‘Oh, look we see something unusual, we need to look further.’”
Mathias Fuelling, a first-year history Ph.D. candidate, found some of the flyers on the ninth floor of Gladfelter Hall, which houses the history department. He said they were on a small table near the common area that often has various flyers and pamphlets.
“I was a little freaked out,” he said. “For maybe five or ten seconds, my eyes were probably as big as saucers and I was like, ‘What the hell? What?’”
He then reported the flyers to Jay Lockenour, the history department’s chair.
“I was just like, ‘I don’t know what to do,’” Fuelling said. “I think this is something that I should inform people about, I don’t think I should just sweep it under the rug.”
Lockenour said after learning about the posters, one professor, who is African American, was nervous that the department had been targeted specifically. The professor’s door had been defaced more than a decade earlier.
“I teach about Nazi Germany … this is all very much in my mind,” Lockenour said.
“[They] use these tactics to gain some kind of respectability by pretending like they have a presence on college campuses or playing up any connection that they possibly have to college campuses to news sites or other kinds of more respectable venues but it’s still just the same,” he added. “You don’t have to scratch very hard to see them, the violent backgrounds, the racism and all that kind of stuff.”
Josh Klugman, a professor in the sociology department, found flyers on the seventh floor of Gladfelter Hall.
“My immediate reaction was I knew that it hit Temple,” he said. “I have friends at other universities where this happened. Flyers were posted close to doors of professors who are people of color.”
This is the second incident in which a white nationalist group attempted to spread its message on Main Campus in the past month and a half. In mid-March, a Pennsylvania “skinhead” organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center characterized as an extremist hate group posted stickers around Main Campus.
“For this semester it’s a little bit unusual to have from this particular [type of] group … because generally we may see some writings, handwriting or spray paint or marking on the door, something like that that may have a racial, religious overtone,” Leone said. “But this is the first that we’re seeing flyers being posted or the stickers that were posted before.”
While the stickers garnered attention on social media, the flyers in Gladfelter and Anderson halls did not draw as much of a reaction.
Lockenour said his department considered issuing a response to the posters, but decided not to publicize the organization’s message.
The stickers and flyers are part of a new effort among white nationalist groups to target college campuses. Recruitment notices for a neo-Nazi organization were posted around the University of Pennsylvania’s campus late last month, Billy Penn reported.
“They cloak themselves in this free speech,” Lockenour said. “If you’re using free speech to deny the humanity of some other person, that’s not really a fair use of free speech because you’re denying them not only their right to equal and free speech but to their other human rights as well.”
Julie Christie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChristieJules.