In January, stickers from the white supremacist group, Patriot Front, were seen attached to campus property.
Junior Grace Burleigh first saw the stickers while walking the campus on an evening in Sept. 2019.
“They were typically stuck to the poles of light fixtures, stop signs, or similar metal surfaces,” Burleigh wrote in a text. “All of them had similar, patriotic and conservative slogans, but none seemed overly incendiary to me. On each sticker was the name ‘Patriot Front.’”
She discovered not long after that the organization was more disturbing than it originally appeared.
“I was disappointed but unsurprised to find that it was an alt-right organization with (among other things) neo-Nazi, fascist, racist, and anti-Semitic sympathies,” Burleigh wrote. “It’s disheartening to realize that whoever posted them around campus likely thought this would be a potential site to attract new members to Patriot Front.”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Patriot Front is a neo-nazi white nationalist group that promotes racism and anti-Semitism disguised as patriotism in propaganda shared via the Internet, flyers and stickers.
According to their Twitter, the Patriot Front was in Irving on Jan. 17, 2020.
UDPD Chief Russel Greene said he had no knowledge of the stickers.
“If we were made aware of it, I don’t remember. Anytime somebody comes on campus, without permission, we would normally ask them what’s their purpose,” said Greene. “These guys aren’t going to go to student affairs and ask [for permission to post something], but are they then creating criminal mischief by putting stickers on stuff?”
“We didn’t have contact,” Greene said. “We didn’t know. I’m sure we just scrapped it off. It’s kind of like most cities. If somebody puts graffiti on something, they have a team that just wipes it off.”
This is not the first instance of Patriot Front publicity spotted at UD. They were also found on campus in 2018.
In an email from Provost Dr. John Norris, sent on Nov. 26, 2018, Norris said he does not believe the stickers came from any student.
“We have had a number of Patriot Front stickers being placed on campus,” Norris wrote. “As a university, we are actively dedicated on an administrative level to discover unjust inequities, and on an academic level and a student affairs level to inculcate the principled respect for the person that befits a Catholic university.”
“I myself know we are actively involved with these concerns,” wrote Norris. “We have spent a significant amount of time in the last five years talking about problematic attitudes in the community and how to address them. We have been creating programming and lectures to address these concerns.”
In his email, Norris also addressed other racial and bigoted action that has taken place on UD’s campus in recent years. According to Norris, “Build the Wall!” was a suggested caption for fall student t-shirts and was “not appreciated” by students of Hispanic heritage. Bathroom graffiti was found in years past that wrote, “Go back to Africa.” LGBT students have encountered slurs and other derogatory language concerning their sexuality that are “not in accord with Catholic teaching on pastoral care.”
“The latter [two] examples are certainly deplorable, and as a university, we should not tolerate such hateful speech,” Norris wrote.
As far as a solution for racial prejudice in the community, Norris encouraged conscientiousness.
“I think becoming aware of the problems and where they exist is a good start,” he wrote.
The University News reached out to Norris for an updated comment but was not contacted.