Stickers promoting an organization identified as a white nationalist hate group were posted around the College of Charleston campus over the weekend as the group was reportedly coordinating a national campaign targeting universities with propaganda for the fascist hate group.
“Better Dead than Red,” said one of the stickers promoting Patriot Front, described by the Anti-Defamation League as a “white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them alone.” Patriot Front is also designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, also describing it as a “far right splinter group.”
The stickers were reported to College of Charleston Public Safety on Sun. Sept. 29, with a campus incident report saying that the stickers reportedly appeared around campus between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Most had been removed by Sunday, according to the person filing the report, whose identity was redacted.
Charleston Police were also notified on Saturday, according to an incident report. CofC Public Safety has shared video surveillance footage with CPD, according to a campus spokesman.
Photos of a number of stickers placed around the downtown Charleston campus appeared on the group’s Twitter account on Sept. 29, which posts the proof of life dispatches from the hate group’s far-flung followers. Other stickers read, “Revolution is tradition,” “One nation against invasion,” “Reclaim America,” and “America First,” according to the CPD report.
Patriot Front propaganda has appeared in communities across the country in recent months, but one anti-fascist community site says leaks show the white nationalist group’s leaders pushed followers to target campuses in recent days.
On Tuesday, some stickers were found intact by Charleston City Paper on and near campus. It’s unclear when those stickers were placed.
In an email to the campus community Sunday evening, CofC President Andrew Hsu wrote that the stickers, “run counter to our core values of respect, community and diversity, and were hurtful to many in our community. While we as an institution believe and champion freedom of speech and the diversity of ideas, we will not condone any type of speech that promotes fear and racism or seeks to divide our campus community.”
In an email on Monday, Student Government Association leaders called the actions, “a cowardly attempt to sow hate across our campus.”
A resolution to “denounce the actions of any external or internal groups running counter to our campus’ core values” was passed in the student senate by unanimous consent on Tuesday.
Patriot Front is said to have been born from the group that led the deadly August 2017 Unite the Right protests in Charlottesville, Va. One counter protester, Heather Hayer, was killed during those events when a man drove his car into a crowd.
Though the group’s manifesto online does not mention white supremacy outright as it lays out a vision for a new American state, it’s clear enough — describing a “pan-European identity” and the “founding stock of our people.” This toned-down version of white supremacy is part of a national effort to make the hate groups more appealing as fears grow over being outed.
The College of Charleston sits just a few blocks away from Emanuel AME Church, the site of the June 2015 massacre by a white supremacist who was radicalized by what he read online and wrote a manifesto of his own before he killed nine black worshippers inside the historic church.
According to the latest figures from the Southern Poverty Law Center, hate group activity has grown by 30 percent since 2014.
Campus police advised the person who filed the report to “please contact Public Safety” if they see the stickers again, “and do not approach anyone from this group.”