‘Alt-Right’ propaganda found at SLU

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‘Alt-Right’ propaganda found at SLU

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On Monday, junior Avery Vogt was at his usual study spot on the fourth floor of the Lewis Annex, when he saw something unexpected.

“I went to the desk I usually go to to study and there was this card. I did not pay attention to it at first. And then I sat down and looked at it.”

It was a black card, approximately three by two inches, which displayed the words “alt-right” in white letters. Behind the letters was a purple symbol that resembled “part of a swastika,” according to Vogt. On the back of the card, it said, “America was 90 percent white in 1950. It is now 60 percent. Make America Great Again.”  Along the bottom were links to several neo-Nazi websites and the phrase, “Trump was the first step. We’re the next.”

“I was taken aback. I was surprised to see something like that at SLU, even though I’m sure there are Trump supporters and people who believe in that movement,” he said.

Vogt said he found five other cards like it that had been placed on several desks on the fourth floor of the Lewis Annex. Vogt said he picked up all the ones he saw and threw them away — but not before tearing them to pieces.

“I just felt that keeping them intact would let people see them, and I don’t want people to see them,” he said. “Plus, I guess the anger in me kind of just wanted to see them destroyed.”

Vogt did not report the cards to anyone, because he had never seen them before and he doubted that many others had seen them, but says he would file a report if he ever saw something like that again. “I keep my eye out now for things like that,” he said.

The “alt-right” is a vague term, whose exact meaning and usage varies greatly. First coined by white supremacist Richard Spencer, it is generally used to describe those on the extreme right wing who reject traditional, mainstream conservatism and embrace racist or white supremacist ideologies.

This is not the first time an alt-right group has targeted SLU’s campus. In September, junior Ramon Riesgo reported seeing flyers that said “Identity Evropa” outside Griesedeck. The flyers, which depicted the faces of classical-looking marble statues, looked relatively benign. “At first I thought it was an advertisement for a speaker series,” said Riesgo. Upon further investigation, however, he realized the posters were actually for a white nationalist organization. He reported them to DPS, who removed them the following day.

On their website, Identity Evropa lists SLU as one of the schools it has targeted as a part of its “#ProjectSiege,” a campaign which they call “the beginning of a long term cultural war of attrition” against academia. The group claims to have targeted over two dozen campuses by putting up posters and sending representatives to converse with students.

It is unknown what person or group produced the cards found on Monday, or if they have any relation to Identity Evropa. Although Pius does not typically permit anyone to distribute promotional material in the library without permission, the library is open to anyone with a photo ID during the day and is commonly frequented by members of the public.

Vogt does not seem to think the alt-right will find much of an audience at SLU. When asked if there were many students who might be influenced by cards like the ones he found, Vogt said, “I think it’s a small group of people. I think people at SLU are mostly open-minded and inclusive about this sort of thing.”