MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A group some have labeled a white supremacist hate organization is apparently flooding college campuses across the country with posters and flyers, hoping to recruit students.
Middle Tennessee State University is one of the latest universities targeted by Identity Evropa in their #ProjectSeige campaign.
It was a student who saw one of the posters and reported it to campus officials. Upon checking other buildings, more of the flyers promoting this white identity group were discovered.
The Identity Evropa posters were found on the Kirksey Old Main Administration Building and two dormitories on the MTSU campus earlier this week.
“Once the administration was notified we determined they were unauthorized posters and we took them down,” said Jimmy Hart, Director of News and Media Relations.
MTSU student Malcolm Dorsey is chairman of the university’s Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Board. Students of all races are a part of it.
He was shocked to hear the group plastered the campus with its propaganda.
“Was like wow. You know, we see stuff like this happening elsewhere,” Dorsey said. “We see stuff like this you know, happening in Charlottesville. We never expected it to happen on our own campus.”
Only registered organizations are allowed to post advertisements on campus in designated areas, only with prior approval.
One of the posters was placed in the dorm where Elizabeth Varley lives.
“I was just a little astonished because with all of the race issues going on like the thing that just happened in Charlottesville, it’s just a little astonished to see that people are still trying influence that kind of issue especially on campus,” Varley said.
MTSU is not alone; campus officials say the same group has posted flyers on college campuses all across the country.
“The group in question has been identified as a white supremacy organization targeting campus around the nation, so we’re not the first and probably we won’t be the last,” Hart told News 2. “As soon as we discovered those posters we knew we needed to take them down.”
MTSU President Dr. Sidney McPhee condemned the group and issued a campus-wide statement that said, in full:
I was made aware today that unauthorized posters and fliers promoting the group “Identity Evropa” were recently found on our campus.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Identity Evropa as a hate group, and the Anti-Defamation League has identified it as a white supremacist organization. Media reports indicate the group generally targets college campuses across the country with its message of white supremacy and preserving European identity. They do so hoping that their demonstrations and hateful messages will spark confrontations that bring notoriety to their cause.
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. This campus is rich with the diversity found in our students, faculty and staff. I am proud that our community celebrates and supports the differences among us, as we also seek to build upon our commonalities. There is no place here for hateful rhetoric that diminishes any member of the MTSU family.
We strongly condemn the views of white supremacist, neo-Nazi and other hate groups. While we will respect the right of free speech when exercised within the policies of the university, we will also continue to work to make our campus as safe as possible and to advance the values of our True Blue Pledge. Those values commit us to reason, not violence; to both listening and speaking; and to our membership in this diverse community. We will maintain our focus on the enrichment that comes to our campus through the wide range of backgrounds represented by our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and we will refuse to give to hate groups the attention that they seek.
“Dr. McPhee he strongly condemns hate,” Dorsey said. “That is not what our campus community, that’s not what Murfreesboro is about. We are about celebrating the diversity amongst anyone.”
MTSU officials said while they believe in free speech, when that speech challenges diversity, the university has a right to speak up.
University leaders tell News 2 no one on campus has claimed responsibility for putting up the posters.