Dozens of racist fliers posted across campus, swiftly removed
Fliers associated with the white supremacist group Vanguard America were found posted around the University of Houston campus Tuesday.
The fliers promoted racism and xenophobia on a college campus where diversity is flaunted as one of its defining characteristics.
“Today, students arrived to campus to find their school plastered with neo-Nazi propaganda that promoted hate, violence and terrorism,” said a statement posted on Facebook by the Young Communist League (YCL). “We call upon the student government and the University administration to make a clear and unambiguous statement condemning the ideologies and organizations attempting to organize a base of support at the University of Houston.”
Vanguard America uses the right-wing nationalist slogan “Blood and Soil” to romanticize the idea that those with “white blood” have a special bond with “American soil,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.
“We are working to address the inappropriate and possible criminal postings around campus,” said UH Chief of Police Ceaser Moore Jr.
Chief of Staff Lt. Bret Collier said in an email that although the content of the fliers did not constitute removal, their location — outside designated areas for public fliers — may constitute criminal mischief.
“We have personnel removing any materials they see posted in non-designated areas, including this recent material,” Collier said. “We do have an active case addressing these postings, and if a person is identified as having posted the material against UH policy, they will be referred to the Dean of Students office for action. We will consider appropriate criminal justice remedies.”
In May, posters bearing the name of other alt-right affiliated groups, including the Proud Boys, were found in the same parts of campus.
History junior Michael Leone, the chair of the YCL at UH, posted pictures of the fliers on Facebook. One said “Beware the International Jew” and was described on the ADL website as being affiliated with the white supremacist group.
Leone said in an email that the fliers were present across campus.
“Some areas they didn’t get to I suspect just because they are low traffic and don’t have outdoor posting areas,” Leone said. “They were more concentrated in the arts and humanities area, which may be to intimidate those students particularly as representing antithetical ideas to their ideology.”
Leone couldn’t say for certain how many fliers were posted, but said he removed about 30 before having to leave for class.
Vanguard America was originally called the American Vanguard and was formed within alt-right community with a focus on white identity, according to the ADL website.
Over time, the group’s members demonstrated neo-Nazi ideology more and more. It posted a form of their manifesto online explaining that the United States was built on the foundation of white Europeans and that the glory of the Aryan nation must be recaptured.
The UH College Democrats also condemned the actions of the white supremacist group.
“We obviously don’t support Vanguard America and its despicable people,” said a spokesperson for the College Democrats in a Facebook message.
“Leftists have to, at a bare minimum, respond swiftly to supremacist propaganda,” said a spokesperson for Houston Antifa in a Facebook message. “And not just Antifa and leftists, but the student body and the community of Houston at large would oppose this wholesale. We’re sure of it.”
President of the College Republicans at UH Antonio Cruz said the fliers do not reflect the views of his political group.
“One person does one thing so that the other person can react and do another thing, and they just keep going back and forth,” Cruz, a marketing senior, said. “Every time they do, they get stronger, they get more exposure, they have people say, ‘Well, there’s only these two sides, so I choose this side instead of the other side.’”
Cruz said that mainstream media should ignore radicals in order to make them disappear from public.
“The mainstream media keeps doing this like, ‘Alright, this is alt-right, this is alt-right, this is alt-right,’” Cruz said. “Why? Because it makes ratings. But, while it gives them ratings, it also gives the alt-right free exposure. We kind of have to understand that they’re crazy, then ignore them.”