Anti-Muslim signs have been spotted on multiple campuses across the United States, apparently the work of a campaign by a far-right, pro-white organization called American Vanguard.
The black-and-white posters by American Vanguard asked viewers to “imagine a Muslim-free America,” with images of the World Trade Center towers and an American flag. The group’s logo and information were on the bottom of the signage.
One of the posters was found outside the Paul Robeson Cultural Center in New Brunswick, N.J., on the Rutgers University campus Tuesday.
Security will be added to the cultural center on campus, Rutgers says.
Earlier this week, more signs of the same design were found on the campus of University of Texas in Austin. They were plastered on utility poles and some school buildings, including the student campus center and the College of Liberal Arts, according to the the Austin American-Statesman.
In a statement from UT’s director of media relations J.B. Bird, the university said it supports free speech, but that posting signs on the outside of university buildings is not allowed under campus rules. Bird said only students and student organizations are allowed to post signage in approved spaces on campus. The statement did not condemn the content of the signs, only the fact that the had been posted in violation of campus rules.
Related: Racially charged fliers and chalkings appear at Univ. of Michigan
“Any person coming onto campus damaging or defacing university property is subject to criminal prosecution,” Bird said in the statement.
President Gregory Fenves tweeted about Longhorns standing together as others try to divide the university. He attached the link to the statement from Bird.
Monday morning the Texas branch of American Vanguard tweeted photos, taking credit for posting flyers throughout campus.
And a post on the American Vanguard website entitled “The Texan Offensive” takes credit for posters being distributed at numerous campuses:
“Members of the American Vanguard in Texas organized a mass poster effort and put up our materials at Texas State University, Rice University, the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Dallas, Collin College, Abilene Christian University, and Louisiana State University with the help of some members in Louisiana.”
Who and what is American Vanguard?
American Vanguard is a white supremacy organization based on the belief that “white America” is under attack and needs to take back the nation before whites become the minority — which is estimated to happen by the year 2044, according to their website.
The group’s manifesto says, “We want to be at the forefront of the reawakening of the white racial consciousness.” They claim to be the “new face of the radical right” and of “young white Americans defending [their] race and nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
On their Facebook page, American Vanguard challenged universities for being hypocritical about free speech. Their Twitter account has been suspended, but state chapters have their own accounts. There’s also a new account called @TrueAmVanguard that posted its first tweet Monday.
Flyers with the American Vanguard logo have been seen on other campuses earlier this year and last year.