Study: White nationalist propaganda distribution on college campuses nearly doubled in 2019

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Instances of white nationalist literature or other propaganda found on college campuses nearly doubled last year, according to a new study.

Data released to The Hill by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) indicated that white nationalist recruitment on U.S. college campuses is rising, with a total of 433 schools in 43 states and Washington, D.C., reporting incidents in 2019.

The report found a total of 630 instances of white nationalist propaganda distribution efforts across the reporting schools, an increase of 96 percent from 320 reported in 2018.

The sharpest increase came during the fall semester last year, according to the ADL, which noted a 159 percent increase in incidents reported over the spring semester.

Just three groups — the Patriot Front, American Identity Movement and the New Jersey European Heritage Association — are thought to be responsible for around 90 percent of the literature distributed,  the ADL noted.

The surge comes as the number of visible public events hosted by white nationalist groups on college campuses dropped between 2018 and 2019, from 95 to 76.

“White supremacists see propaganda distribution – including fliering, leafleting and stickering – as a convenient and practically anonymous way to promote their messages of hate and intolerance,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

“While we know extremists and hate groups are emboldened by the current environment, this surge in fliering and propaganda distribution powerfully demonstrates how bigots are able to spread their message without compromising their anonymity,” Greenblatt added.

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