FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Posters put up on the University of Arkansas (U of A) campus that allegedly led to a white supremacist group website are causing concern for some students.
One of the signs found on campus last month read, “for the nation, against the state.” They were believed to be put their promoting the white supremacy group "Patriot Front." This group is a spinoff of the white supremacy group "Vanguard."
“We’re asking the university to be accountable of what their protocol is when neo-Nazi propaganda is placed on campus,” said Toby Klein, who is on the diversity, equity and inclusion committee of the Graduate Student Professional Congress.
The signs were put up against U of A policy and once the university was made aware, they were removed. Klein says they reported some of the signs they saw but learned there were even more. Her group sent this resolution to the university asking for them to be transparent in how they responded and plan to respond in the future.
“We want them to take a very strong, clear stance against neo-Nazi and against white supremacy in the strongest terms. We want them to affirm the commitment to safety for marginalized students,” she said.
The University says stickers, posters and other messaging from non-affiliated entities violate campus signage policy and are routinely removed by facilities management staff. In this case, the signs were removed.
“Regardless of the specific messaging, we hope our students and our campus community know that the university always has their best interests at heart. The university’s core values reinforce this, especially with respect to our shared humanity,” University officials said.
University of Arkansas Police Captain Gary Crain says they will be on the lookout for people putting up posters against campus policy. They ask for anyone seeing the policy violated to call them. He says there was no threat on the signs except for the fact that anyone familiar with the group may find it threatening.
“Otherwise seeing a poster is just like seeing any other sign and there is no violation of the law until there is a violation of this policy that we can take action on,” he said.
Klein says they want to know what steps the university plans to take moving forward if there were to be a hate crime on campus. She says if she knew there was a potential threat to her safety, she may have made different choices.
“I know of things that happen that may not reach the level of UAPD but these events in context really tell a concerning story and we want our students to be informed," Klein said. "Our university is here to educate and inform us and they are withholding information from us."
The Graduate Student Professional Congress says on Friday, March 4, there will be a community event at 11:30 a.m. on campus to talk about this issue and later in the day student leaders are meeting to continue the discussion.
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