A Black Lives Matter (BLM) banner was vandalized at Xavier University in Cincinnati and stickers promoting the white supremacist group Patriot Front (PF) were found all over campus, the university’s student newspaper reported.
Xavier Police (XUPD) and the Bias Action Response Team are now investigating the act of vandalism, which took place during an admissions event at the university over the weekend.
The banner, which read “Racism is a Sin: Black Lives Matter” was allegedly sliced twice with a sharp object. Additionally, the XUPD found more than 10 stickers in various locations including the Bellarmine Chapel and Gallagher Student Center.
Messages on these stickers read “AMERICA IS NOT FOR SALE,” “RECLAIM AMERICA,” and “BETTER DEAD THAN RED” and listed the website for PF.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, PF is a white nationalist hate group that supports an “explicitly fascist agenda.” Its leader, Thomas Rousseau, was affiliated with a neo-Nazi group that participated in the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The university’s Bellarmine Chapel released a statement about how the incident reinforces “a painful reminder of the hateful and bigoted actions that take place every day and make people of color feel less safe in our communities.”
The chapel also stated they will replace the banner but are worried that such acts of aggression pose constant threats to people’s lives in general and to campus security in particular.
To our Xavier community:
— Xavier University (@XavierU) January 31, 2021
Several organizations, activists, and individuals responded to the event. “We have to take these deliberate and fear-inducing acts of racism seriously,” the Coalition of Black Revolutionaries and Allies said.
Xavier students also took to social media to decry the vandalism. One of them, Jonathan Hesford, urged his friends to create new BLM signs for the campus. “So I brought some cardboard and some markers (to make signs), and then we decided to get creative and carve ‘BLM’ into the snow right next to it,” his post read.
The incident at Xavier University is not a solitary case of campus vandalism instigated by the white supremacist group.
In November, PF was believed to be behind fascist stickers and posters that appeared on streetlights and other public property at Colorado State University. Some of the stickers were removed by students who requested to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, the university’s student newspaper reported.
Hateful messages and stickers promoting racist and xenophobic ideologies also popped up at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
“Patriot Front stickers have appeared throughout Oxford for multiple years,” wrote Dean of Students Kimberly Moore to The Miami Student, the university’s student-led newspaper. “When they are posted they are taken down.”