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April 25, 2017

Penn responds to neo-Nazi flyers found on campus: hatred and fear-mongering have no place here

University of Pennsylvania Flyers
University of Pennsylvania campus Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice Staff

The Quadrangle at the University of Pennsylvania.

Neo-Nazi flyers found over the weekend around the University of Pennsylvania's campus caused President Amy Gutmann to send a reminder to the student body that "hatred and fear-mongering have no place at Penn."

The flyers, which have since been removed, had messages like "stop the blacks" and "How is a diploma going to help you in the war?" and led university officials to respond via the campus-wide email late Monday night, The Daily Pennsylvanian first reported.

The message, shared by a university spokesperson, read: 

"This past weekend, some neo-Nazi flyers were found posted at several locations in the vicinity of campus. These appear to have been circulated by off-campus groups known to be bent on sowing fear and discord, and targeting campuses within our region and nationwide.

Although the flyers in question are no longer posted, we think it important to take this opportunity to remind the community of our shared conviction that hatred and fear-mongering have no place at Penn.

Our University strives to be a place that is safe and welcoming for all students, faculty, and staff. Expressing hate or animus for any group of individuals is vile and reprehensible. We underscore our commitment to a supportive, respectful, diverse and open campus, and we encourage the exercise of free expression rights to counter misguided hate with stronger words of truth and mutual respect. We also encourage anyone who is troubled or in need of support to reach out for help. Please know that Penn stands with you, and any of the offices below can provide you with assistance and guidance."

Photos of the posters shared on social media show they listed the website, which describes itself as a "global online fascist community."

A Twitter user with the handle @Illegal_Aryan seems to have taken responsibility for the flyers, the DP reported. Ski goggles and a bandana hide Illegal_Aryan's face in his Twitter profile photo, and the image at the top of the account's page shows "Pepe the Frog," a symbol of the "alt-right," which is an offshoot of conservatism that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism.

On Sunday, Illegal_Aryan tweeted, "Hey UPenn- Saaaaaaay N----R! #dayoftheflyer," along with photos of the flyers. (Below is the actual, unedited tweet.)

The account links to The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi blog that also was found responsible for racist flyers posted around Texas State University's campus. Anti-Semitic posters were also recently found hung around the University of Chicago. 

Late last year, black students in Penn's freshman class were added to a racist GroupMe called "N----- Lynching." A man in Oklahoma was later investigated in connection with the chat.

Stephen MacCarthy, vice president for university communications at Penn, said that a search Monday showed no flyers remained on or near the college's campus.