Stickers promoting the white supremacist group Patriot Front have been placed across campus, according to a university-wide email Miami’s Institutional Response Team (IRT) sent out on Sept. 26.
The stickers, which promote racist and xenophobic ideologies, have since been removed, according to the IRT. Additionally, local and federal law enforcement have been notified of the incident.
“Defacement of our campus in this vile and reprehensible way will not be tolerated,” the email read. “Any individual found responsible will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The email went on to denounce white supremacy at Miami and encouraged students to report any new stickers to the Miami University Police Department (MUPD).
This incident is not the first time white supremacist material has appeared on Miami’s campus. Signs promoting Patriot Front were spotted on campus in April 2019, and the organization’s stickers have long been seen around Oxford.
“Patriot Front stickers have popped up throughout Oxford for multiple years,” wrote Dean of Students Kimberly Moore in an email to The Miami Student. “When they are posted they are taken down.”
Looking at the more recent presence of Patriot Front stickers on campus, Moore noted that MUPD regularly checks for hateful messages to ensure they are taken down as swiftly as possible.
Moore also encouraged students to report any incidents of hate or discrimination on campus through the University Diversity and Inclusion page.
Despite the university’s condemnation of white supremacist rhetoric, many students feel as though the administration has not done enough to actively combat discrimination at Miami.
For first-year Chloe Thach, a person of color on Miami’s campus, just the presence of white supremacist material on campus proves that the university has not taken enough steps to discourage this behavior.
“They send out emails about the task force, but since I’ve been here, I haven’t seen any signs of change,” Thach said.
While Thach recognizes the steps Miami has taken to create a more diverse and inclusive environment, she thinks the continued acceptance of language in favor of these discriminatory ideals discredits much of that work.
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“It’s kind of a punch in the face, that this stuff still happens here,” Thach said. “It would be nice if [the university] made more of an effort; it’s obvious that they’re trying, but there needs to be a more active conversation that includes everyone in the student body.”
At a university with a predominantly white student population, Thach added that she would like to see more white students speaking out against discrimination on campus.
“There’s not a lot of people who would come forward and say that it’s wrong — I think a lot of people let it go because they don’t want to be the one that stirs the pot,” Thach said. “It’s not that they don’t care, they just don’t know what to do or what to say; they don’t think it concerns them.”
Student Body President Jannie Kamara agrees that the university could do more to discount white supremacy at Miami.
“This is a recurring thing,” Kamara said. “And [Miami] puts out messages that they don’t approve of it, but there is a way to prevent this.”
Kamara suggested that Miami do more to monitor bulletin boards and other active student areas, as well as make students aware of the tools in place to report these hateful messages.
“The messages use shock to start conversation, and they use shock to discredit the diversity in our world and on our campus,” Kamara said. “But they also make us discuss what we do and do not want to see in our community, and what is and isn’t acceptable.”
While Kamara does believe she’s seen a trend toward acceptance of diversity at Miami since her freshman year, she still believes that the university has a long way to go.
“I think the campus has become more conscious of the community that we’re a part of and the individuals that are in our community — how we should take care of each other,” Kamara said. “We are tired of seeing these recurring instances and seeing our community continuously become more hurt and more divided.”
Although Patriot Front has posted materials in the past, some of them were in violation of the university’s Signs, Posters and Banners policy and were thus removed. Some, however, were technically allowed to stay.
“If any group does not go by our policies, we will take their [content] down,” said Assistant Vice President for Student Life - Student Engagement and Leadership Scott Walter. “If people don’t go through the proper channels or try to put up things that go against our beliefs, we can take them down.”
While the stickers have been removed from campus, no individuals or groups have yet been tied to the incident.