For the fourth time since December, bigoted propaganda has been posted on the Stanislaus State University campus.
Last week, six posters containing offensive and bigoted language targeting women and members of the LGBTQ community were posted on kiosks near University Circle and Bizzini Hall, according to Rosalee Rush, a spokesperson for the Turlock university.
The posters also included a web address for a white supremacist podcast and blog.
In a letter to Stanislaus State students on Thursday, President Ellen Junn condemned the messages in the posters she said were “intentionally designed to incite fear, antipathy and distress.”
The posters were found to be in violation of Stanislaus State’s posting policy because they were not previously approved and subsequently were removed by university police, Rush said in an email.
The posters, like previous similar incidents, stirred up strong emotions among some students, but Junn’s letter said the posters were not “legally actionable threats.”
“Free speech can be a challenging notion at a public university where we strive to ensure that divergent views are allowed a voice, however repellent the rhetoric,” Junn wrote.
Junn met with students Thursday and plans to continue to meet with them throughout the year to form a student advisory council to focus on campus climate, culture and equality and social justice.
This is the fourth such incident involving bigoted material being plastered around campus but all the previous incidents were connected to the white supremacist group Identity Evropa.
Identity Evropa posters and stickers first started to appear on campus and around Turlock when the group was founded in 2016 by an Oakdale resident, Nathan Damigo, who was then a Stanislaus State student.
In December, Identity Evropa posters also were found at the campus of Merced College.
Identity Evropa has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and an extremist white supremacist organization by the Anti-Defamation League. Its messages include slogans like “You will not replace us” and “Keep your diversity, we want identity.” And the most recent propaganda featured Andrew Jackson on horseback along with the text, “European roots American greatness.”
Identity Evropa now has members across the country who are also using the posters and stickers as part of a recruitment campaign.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, members of white supremacist groups use propaganda efforts to promote their organization and ideology while remaining anonymous and limiting the risk of “individual exposure, negative media coverage, arrests and public backlash.”
Reports of supremacist propaganda efforts — like racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic fliers, stickers, banners and posters —increased from by 182 percent from 421 cases in 2017 to 1,187 cases in 2018, according to the league.