A white supremacist group is recruiting at MU. Flyers around campus encourage “Midwestern patriots” to contact an email address listed. An online search using the address found an archived home page for the Midwestern Alliance. The organization calls for a “white ethnic state.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, Chancellor Alexander Cartwright and Provost Garnett Stokes sent an email to the campus community saying they were aware “that white supremacist groups are recruiting on college campuses across the U.S.” Although the email doesn’t cite the flyers, MU spokesman Christian Basi said campus leaders were aware of them.
The email states that anyone “aware of any activity that might violate university policies” should report it to MU’s Office for Civil Rights and Title IX.
According to University of Missouri System policy, discrimination and harassment are conduct that “adversely affects a term or condition of employment, education, living environment or participation in a University activity” or conduct that stops someone from accessing university services.
The flyer circulating at MU doesn’t appear to violate current policies. It depicts a crest of unclear meaning, the words “Looking For Young Midwestern Patriots” and an email address.
Maj. Brian Weimer of the MU Police Department said the department is aware of the flyers but that no crime has occurred to his knowledge.
“We are keeping an eye out for anything that might threaten safety of the campus community,” Basi said.
On Monday, the MU News Bureau announced the four UM System campuses all accepted the 2016 “Commitment to Free Expression” from MU’s Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Protests, Public Spaces, Free Speech and the Press.
In that statement, MU guarantees protection of freedom of expression for everyone, even those whose beliefs spark intense disagreement. “The University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed.”
Contacted through the email address on the flyer, Hans Mann identified himself as the founder of the Midwestern Alliance. He called it “an Identitarian organization working on promoting culture and awareness of issues that face white Americans. We seek to promote the end goal of a peaceful creation of a white ethnic state in the Midwestern United States.”
The group has no events planned at this time in Columbia, Mann said.
The site says: “As more and more non-whites are flooded into our country and as the media and the elite in Washington fight to eradicate all existence of not just our culture but our racessic very existence, it is beyond necessary that we as whites band together and fight for an ethnic home land.”
A Roman eagle design featured at the top of the website is an important Nazi symbol, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Flyers for all sorts of organizations can be found on pretty much any U.S. college campus. With the timing nationally, the appearance of the flyers takes on more weight.
In 2015, after several racially charged incidents were reported, MU was the site of widespread protests that ultimately garnered national media attention and led to the resignations of top campus and system leaders. In 2016, racial slurs outside of the Delta Upsilon fraternity house directed at members of the Legion of Black Collegians were a factor in the fraternity’s suspension.
In early August, the NAACP issued a travel advisory warning African Americans about traveling to Missouri. The organization cited the passing of a bill making it more difficult to sue for discrimination, the death of Tori Sanford in a southeast Missouri jail cell and racially-charged incidents at MU.
Nationally, the Aug. 11-12 protests and counter protests at the Unite the Right rally at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville have re-energized conversations about white supremacy in America. At those protests, neo-Nazis and white supremacists wielded torches, guns, clubs and shields and a participant drove a van into a crowd, killing one and injuring over a dozen others.