DAVIS — University of California, Davis officials are opening the school year having to denounce the placement of white supremacist flyers in several of its buildings.
This is not the first time school has been targeted by hate groups, nor is it alone among university campuses.
Still, some students were surprised that a white supremacist group would essentially recruit for members on a campus as diverse as UC Davis.
“I’m surprised to hear about that,” graduate student Matthew Corbelli said.
Corbelli never saw the flyers that the university says came from the American Identity Movement, whose propaganda objects to diversity and inclusiveness. It appears to be a rebranding of the Identity Europa movement, known for its involvement in the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
University Chancellor Gary May released a statement saying, “We are sickened that any person or group would invest any time in such cowardly acts of hate and intimidation. They have no place here. We encourage our community to stand against anti-Semitism and racism.”
There has been a campaign in recent years to recruit younger people into groups like the American Identity Movement, flooding campuses with flyers posted by non-students.
There are some students who believe that those views are so extreme that they can’t be bothered with them.
“We got bigger issues,” student Isaac Boyd said. “Let’s talk about the housing crisis in Davis rather more than these flyers.”
Boyd says he’s had to deal with racist graffiti all his life written on public spaces, and students are now dealing with day-to-day issues of being a college student.
“It doesn’t even come onto my radar really,” he said. “I got papers to write.”
The Anti-Defamation League says there are perhaps 500 hardcore members of the American Identity Movement in the entire country.
Students say the university is in a tough spot, trying to disavow the flyers representing a minuscule part of the population while attempting not to bring undue attention to their cause.