Flyers for Identity Evropa, an alt-right group associated with the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, have been seen around the University of Connecticut Storrs campus within the past month, according to Unicorn Riot, a non-profit media organization.
According to Twitter user @Hans Fassbinder, there are multiple photos of Identity Evropa flyers in front of Gampel Pavilion, Wilbur Cross, the Student Union and other notable places on campus. The Daily Campus reached out to Unicorn Riot and they declined to give comment at the time of reporting.
On March 6, Unicorn Riot released more than 770,000 messages from chat servers associated with Identity Evropa. The leaked chat logs show examples of racism and fascism, according to their website.
On March 11, days following the Unicorn Riot leak, Identity Evropa leader Patrick Casey announced that the group has been retired and he is now launching a new organization, the American Identity Movement, according to The Southern Poverty Law Center. Currently, Identity Evropa is currently facing a lawsuit related to their role in the Unite the Right Rally.
Andy Friedland, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League, an international Jewish non-governmental organization that reports on bias and hate incidents at colleges and universities, said college campuses are a known spot for these incidents.
“College campuses are very popular. They are thought of as a place for people trying to understand their world view,” Friedland said. “Young people trying to learn of new ideas. It’s a place of free speech.”
In addition to UConn, other college campuses, such as the University of Massachusetts, had Identity Evropa flyers within the past year, according to the Massachusetts Daily Collegian website.
Friedman said he thinks organizations use flyers because it’s easier than speaking out.
“One of the reason[s] why people would want to drop a flyer [rather] than advocate for their beliefs [in person] is that they know [there] might be a social consequence for having these gross views...and being exposed as haters,” Friedland said. “They know that their ideals [are] marginalized and have consequences in the broad culture.”
Aaron Stephens, an Industrial Workers of the World member and one of the admins for their Facebook page, shared one of the Unicorn Riot photos. The labor organization is dedicated to racial equality and the defeat of fascist movements, he said.
In response to Identity Evropa changing their name, Stephens said calling it the “American Identity Movement” is disgrace to the American Indian Movement. He said despite the name change, the group still poses a danger.
“No longer willing to lose their jobs after rioting in public like in Charlottesville, there has been a large increase over the past year in bombings and mass shootings by white nationalists, white supremacists, anti-feminists and other far-right tendencies,” Stephens said. “They believe that they will find gullible young followers at places like UConn, and it's up to the UConn community to push back and show them why they're mistaken.”
Lyric McVoy, a sixth-semester English education major, who works as a designer and copy editor at the Daily Campus, shared the post of the Industrial Workers of the World and expressed their concerns.
“Seeing these stickers around campus worries me,” McVoy said. “I would like to think that there isn't a white nationalist presence in the student body, and that these were placed by someone who isn't a student here. However, I also know that the chances of a student group placing these is more probable.”
If it ended up being a student group who put up the flyers, McVoy hopes that the situation is under control.
“I think that these groups shouldn't be allowed on campus because they pose a big risk to students of color and LGBTQ+ people,” McVoy said. “I hope that, if it winds up being students who did this, that whichever campus authority is in charge handles it.”
Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.