Members of a white supremacist group defaced Southern Methodist University (SMU) over the weekend, plastering troubling flyers and banners on campus. They even stopped to pose for photos giving the Nazi salute.
The organization that took responsibility for the materials, Texas Vanguard, masked their faces in the images they took of themselves, tweeting: “We had a great night at SMU.”
— Texas Vanguard (@TexasVanguard) December 3, 2017
Student newspaper The Daily Campus reported Texas Vanguard placed an array of posters in prominent places around the elite Dallas university. Under the guise of fighting opioid addiction, these materials included a large banner affixed to a gate by the lacrosse field. It stated: “White men!” Save your people. Reject the opioid beast.” A second poster derided the opioid epidemic claiming the drug’s victims were mostly white. It read: “Protect white lives now.”
Then, in an unrelated flyer posted at the Owens Arts Center atrium, Texas Vanguard targeted gays and lesbians, saying they had “misplaced pride.” Another Twitter posted photo showed a fully masked member of the white nationalist group giving the Nazi salute with the university’s lit Christmas tree serving as his backdrop.
The Daily Campus photographed one of the group’s posters taped to a pole. It urged: “Reclaim America” and “No more tolerance. No more diversity.” It asserted: “The only solution is white revolution.” The images they used to push this message depicted a fisted white man and a broken Star of David, the six-pointed Jewish symbol that appears on synagogues, Jewish gravestones, and on the flag of the State of Israel.
Texas Vanguard is part of Vanguard America (VA), also known as American Vanguard and National Vanguard, one of nearly a dozen virulently anti-Semitic, racist, and anti-gay groups that comprise the neo-Nazi umbrella organization Nationalist Front. According to Discover the Networks, National Vanguard founder Kevin Alfred Strom expressed solidarity with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “especially in the fight against common Jewish and Zionist enemies.”
Nationalist Front seeks an “ethno-state” of white Americans and “ally” with like-minded European and non-European groups that share the same foe of “Zionism, capitalism, globalism, and imperialism.” Anti-zionist groups often mask anti-Semitism behind hatred for the Jewish state of Israel.
On Sunday, SMU President R. Gerald Turner condemned the materials, saying they “appear to be part of a campaign by an outside group at universities across Texas and the country.” He added that the university did not authorize these flyers and took them down.
“While SMU strongly supports freedom of speech and expression, the outside group featured on these signs promotes an abhorrent message that is opposite to SMU values. Our university community is deeply committed to maintaining an educational environment that is welcoming and inclusive. As an institution dedicated to learning, we value respectful and civil discourse,” said Turner, who noted that campus police launched an investigation.
The SMU president said those responsible for hanging unauthorized materials or defacing SMU property will be subject to prosecution and any campus community member involved with the incident will be held accountable under the university’s conduct review process.
Surveillance video released Monday by the SMU Police Department depicted five persons of interest, all unmasked, and believed to be connected to the vandalism. Police asked the public for help in identifying them.
Have you seen these people? Outside group Texas Vanguard has claimed responsibility for posting unauthorized signs on campus. The signs have been removed, and @SMUPolice are conducting an investigation.
— SMU (@SMU) December 4, 2017
Campus officers believe the group came in a dark-colored, full-sized pickup truck. One image captures them exiting the pickup truck around 11:20 p.m. on Saturday. Another, filmed around 12:20 a.m. on Sunday, shows two males carrying one of the banners in question.
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