White supremacists are at it again in their efforts to recruit young, impressionable college students, this time on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Signs touting America as an “all white nation” were reported Sunday, March 12, on the sprawling 43-acre campus, causing worry and concern among students, according to The Washington Post. The pro-white posters are reportedly similar to ones found across other college campuses in recent weeks.
In the wake of a contentious election cycle and the appointment of a candidate who spewed hate-filled rhetoric throughout his campaign, a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League concluded that such groups have been emboldened by the current political climate and are hoping to push their divisive ideals on college students in order to recruit them. According to the ADL analysis, over 100 such incidents have occurred this academic year, with more than half of them since January.
At GW, posters featured white people and slogans about uniting and even encouraged “all white Americans” to call the feds on those they believed to be undocumented immigrants.
“THEY ARE CRIMINALS,” one of the signs read. “AMERICA IS A WHITE NATION.”
Corey Garlick, a law student at the D.C. university, said he was appalled at the signs he saw scattered across campus.
“I cannot believe this is taking place today in the U.S., let alone on a college campus in a liberal city like D.C.,” Garlick said, adding that many students, including his friend who’s an immigrant and a Muslim, were shaken up by the posters.
A group called Vanguard America has since taken credit for distributing the pro-white signage. A spokesman for the organization told The Washington Post in an email this week that the group hopes “to raise awareness amongst college students regarding the problems facing the world today, and to advocate for a National Socialist solution to these problems.”
The spokesman said the organization also has targeted other universities in the area, including the University of Maryland. A student at Georgetown University said he/she spotted a similar sign posted near the campus entrance on Saturday, March 11.
Lecia Brooks, outreach director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the goal of groups like Vanguard America is to convince young white Americans that “white folks are under attack,” pushing the idea that anti-white efforts are evident through campus diversity programs and liberal college groups, among other things.
“They’re trying to re-awaken the sense of white nationalism,” Brooks said. “And they’re trying to convince students that white folks are about to be dispossessed in the country, which, of course, is not true.
“Because college is the place where most white folk for the first time experience diversity, they’re very susceptible to the messages,” she continued. “Maybe they’ve never heard about concepts of diversity and inclusion and those kinds of things before, so it makes [white students] kind of an easy target.”
Vanguard America currently has 29 operating chapters across the U.S., according to Brooks. The group, which also promotes anti-Semitic propaganda, even posts templates on its website and encourages students to download and plaster them across campus themselves.
Todd A. Olson, vice president for student affairs at Georgetown, denounced the posters in a statement this week and assured the public that the situation was being investigated by the Georgetown University Police Department.
“The posters appear to be part of a campaign by an outside group that has posted similar materials on campuses across the country,” Olson said. “Acts of hate will not be tolerated on Georgetown’s campus. We are a community that welcomes all people and that values understanding, dignity, inclusion and respect.”
Officials at George Washington University also provided ABS with a statement via e-mail:
“We are aware that some fliers were posted without authorization on campus,” GWU spokesperson Candace Smith wrote.
“We are in the process of removing them. GW Police are investigating to determine the identity of those who have defaced our property. The language used in the fliers is offensive and is counter to our values as an open and inclusive community. If anyone has information about the case please contact GWPD at 202-994-6111.”