Skip To Content
Fast Forward

White Supremacist Propaganda Spreading On U.S. College Campuses, ADL Says

(JTA) — White supremacist propaganda on American college campuses has seen a dramatic increase since the fall of 2016, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

In a report published Thursday, the ADL called the reported growth “alarming.” ADL’s Center on Extremism recorded 346 incidents in which white supremacists have used fliers, stickers, banners and posters to spread their message since Sept. 1, 2016, the report said.

The incidents were recorded on 216 college campuses in 44 states and Washington, D.C.

During the fall semester of 2017 (Sept. 1 through Dec. 31), a total of 147 incidents involved what ADL considers white supremacist propaganda on campuses — a 250 percent leap over the corresponding period in 2016, when ADL recorded 41 such cases.

“White supremacists are targeting college campuses like never before,” ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “They see campuses as a fertile recruiting ground, as evident by the unprecedented volume of propagandist activity designed to recruit young people to support their vile ideology.”

Among the most active white nationalist groups identified is Identity Evropa, which accounted for 158 of the 346 incidents recorded by ADL. Other prominent groups included the Patriot Front and Vanguard America.

Campuses in Texas and California saw the most incidents recorded last fall at 61 and 43, respectively.

Richard Spencer, a 39-year-old Boston native that has toured U.S. college campuses to promote white nationalist ideals, emerged as one of the most frequently featured figures in campus white supremacist propaganda, ADL said.

Spencer is scheduled to speak at Michigan State University in March and is attempting to hold an event at Kent State University on May 4, the 48th anniversary of the murder of four students by National Guardsmen.

“While campuses must respect and protect free speech, administrators must also address the need to counter hate groups’ messages and show these bigoted beliefs belong in the darkest shadows, not in our bright halls of learning,” Greenblatt said.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.