The Journal Gazette
 
 
Saturday, January 23, 2021 7:40 pm

Nationalist group litters Purdue Fort Wayne campus with stickers

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Small decals with political messages were found Saturday on many steel light poles and other metal signs at Purdue University Fort Wayne. 

The decals were attributed to Patriot Front, a group identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist hate group. 

The stickers were concentrated in an area around Walb Student Center, although other stickers could be found up and down the main walk throughout campus Saturday.   

A campus security officer said there are surveillance cameras inside and out. A group of seven people were seen putting on the stickers, the campus security officer said, but asked not to be identified.

The stickers were put up over an identified 24-hour period that seemed to be recent. One man walking on the main walk Saturday said he worked at the university and the stickers were "all that anyone was talking about today." He believed a couple of stickers had the Antifa symbol on them, but the campus security officer said he didn’t believe that was true.

Antifa, short for Anti-Fascist, is considered a left-wing protest group.

The stickers or decals had several messages including "Reclaim America," "America First," "One Nation Against Invasion," "For the Nation Against the State," "United We Stand," "Not Stolen...Conquered" with an image of the U.S., "Life of our Nation, Liberty of our People, Victory of the American Spirit," "Better Dead Than Red" and "Reject Poison," with graphics of a syringe, marijuana leaf, cigarettes and capsules. 

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that tracks right-wing extremist groups, Patriot Front is "a white nationalist hate group that broke off from Vanguard America in the aftermath of the deadly 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, 2017." 

The founder is Thomas Rousseau of Texas. In one professionally produced video on the group’s website, members march wearing khakis and matching baseball hats with white masks and navy hooded jackets. All are carrying the American flag. 

Purdue Fort Wayne issued a statement Saturday saying that the flyers and stickers were "clearly meant to threaten and intimidate members of our very diverse community." The university "was in the process of removing them and investigating their origin," the statement continued. 

A statement from Steven Alan Carr, director of PFW’s Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, said Saturday his staff received evidence that the Patriot Front had "plastered" the campus with stickers "meant to promote its racist and anti-Semitic website." 

Carr wrote that the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish rights group, said Patriot Front "regularly targets college campuses around the country promoting anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim hate propanganda." 

jduffy@jg.net

 

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