A year after a then-ETSU student counter-protested in a gorilla mask during a Black Lives Matter demonstration on ETSU’s campus, flyers for a white supremacist group were found at ETSU.
An ETSU student found flyers on Oct. 5 for Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group based out of California.
Executive Assistant to the President for University Relations Joe Smith said university officials will continue to monitor the situation.
“A limited number were identified and found, and they were taken down immediately,” he said. “I’m aware of three that were found. Right now we feel this is a very isolated incident.”
The posters were put up without ETSU’s permission and are not listed as an official ETSU organization.
Identity Evropa does not label itself as a white supremacist group. Nathan Damigo started the organization in 2016 for “a better future for people of European heritage,” according to his website, nathandamigo.com. The organization has over 21,000 Twitter followers.
The organization’s Twitter account has been sharing photos of its flyers on college campuses across the country. The campaign is called #ProjectSiege, and it was started in August 2016. So far, no post has been made on the official site about the flyers on ETSU’s campus.
“The purpose of #ProjectSiege is that never again will our voice not be heard in these institutions—in the hallways, in the classrooms, out on the yard,” said Damigo in a Sept. 26, 2016 YouTube video discussing the campaign. “We’re going to get on the college. We’re going to talk to students there. We’re going to show them what the teachers have omitted from their lectures—what has been omitted from their textbooks—that is creating false, anti-white narrative.”
Middle Tennessee State University also had unauthorized Identity Evropa flyers placed on the campus Oct. 2.
“While the First Amendment protects the right to utter even abhorrent speech, it also protects our right to speak out forcefully against ideas and viewpoints that are contrary to the values of Middle Tennessee State University,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee in an address to the campus. “There is no place here for hateful rhetoric that diminishes any member of the MTSU family.”
While most flyers placed on college campuses have been discreetly placed in areas amongst other public flyers, some have been on telephones, the sides of buildings and inside books. Photos from New York University show flyers being placed in lockers.
“I think if you look at other schools, there was a much more aggressive leafleting and campaign,” Smith said. “Right now, fortunately, this is extremely isolated.”
ETSU has an approval policy for any posters displayed in the D.P. Culp University Center, which involves a stamp of approval. Materials placed on Culp Center bulletin boards must have the name of the individual or organization and a means for contact. Because the posters were not submitted for approval, there is no contact or way to identify whether a member of Identity Evropa or a student hung the flyers.