Campus Police is looking for the individuals responsible for distributing white supremacy propaganda around campus over the Easter weekend.
Flyers and business cards were placed around campus, including around the Wise Cultural Arts area and Vaughn Library after the campus closed Thursday, April 14. The propaganda was found Sunday, April 16 and taken down before classes resumed the following morning. However, a few small cards were missed outside of Vaughn Library. Psychology professor, Cory Howard, found them taped outside the Starbucks window later that afternoon.
“It caught my eye. I was like, there’s no way that that’s actually what it says. There’s no way that that’s really what it is,” said Howard.
The cards celebrated white culture, encouraged young mothers to be “selective” and claimed that America has fallen to its knees by decadence. Websites were listed on the cards, taking the visitor to their site to join the group, their twitter page where they promoted making “America white again” and other social media accounts. Pictures were taken at both TJC and UT Tyler and were uploaded online. The members photographed had their faces blurred.
Howard took the cards down and turned them into Learning Resource Center Director Marian Jackson. Jackson had found other flyers and cards that morning.
“It wasn’t taped in the building at all. There were some of the cards that were poked through the door, laying in the airlock,” said Jackson. “They didn’t have the approved college student of activities implement.”
In order to distribute flyers and have them posted on bulliten boards around campus, they must first be approved by the Center for Student Life and Involvement or the marketing office.
“We have posting regulations on campus; they’re in the student handbook to ensure that everything is obviously within the rights and responsibilities and policies of the college,” said Director of Student Life, Lauren Tyler. “Not to say that organizations don’t take it upon themselves to post things on campus. We can’t necessarily stop a student from going and taping things on [bulletin boards] but you know that’s why we have those regulations in place. We do have freedom of speech areas, but we don’t necessarily have a freedom of speech poster or bulletin board area.”
Jackson turned the items over to Chief of Police Randy Melton, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Tom Johnson and Executive Director of Marketing, Media and Communications Kimberly Lessner.
“We’re gonna find who’s responsible,” said Melton. “If they’re [a] student, you got the student code of conduct type charges. If they do not belong to our campus, they’re trespassing the property.”
While some people may feel threatened by the group’s presence, Melton feels differently.
“I don’t call it a threat,” said Melton. “Somebody just wants to express their view. A very unwelcome view on our campus.”
Campus Police are currently reviewing security camera footage to determine the suspects.
“Knowing that there’s white supremacist groups in Tyler is upsetting, but the fact that they’re coming to where I work and where a lot of students are, a lot of young impressionable minds are, is really upsetting. Especially here at TJC, we have a very diverse student population,” said Howard. “You don’t expect it to be here, but it definitely is. This isn’t the first white supremacist propaganda that’s popped up around Tyler. Apparently there’s multiple groups here, which is also upsetting.”
Anyone with information concerning the incident should contact Campus Police. If wishing to remain anonymous, text 50911, enter tjctip, a space and then the message.