Just over a year after alt-right messages displayed around campus raised concerns at Stanislaus State, the posters have appeared once again at the university.
In October 2016, Stanislaus State student Nathan Damigo was responsible for posting flyers around campus which propagated the white-supremacist group he founded, Identity Evropa. Those original flyers read “Let’s Become Great Again” and “Protect Your Heritage,” representing the ideals of the group that defines themselves as “awakened Europeans” who reject the idea that their identities are “mere abstractions to be deconstructed.”
The posters came last year just after Identity Evropa’s September 2016 recruiting campaign, Project Siege, launched in an effort to educate students on the “false narrative that their instructors and professors are promoting.”
“Never again will our voice not be heard in these institutions. We are going to talk to students there and we are going show them what the teachers have omitted from their lectures and what has been omitted from their textbooks that is creating this false anti-white narrative,” said Damigo in a Youtube video last September. “We are going to change the world by doing this. We aren’t going away.”
Since the posters were discovered at Stanislaus State last year and taken down, Damigo has been the center of protests and outrage at the university, with students calling for his expulsion after he helped organize dangerous rallies in Charlottesville, North Carolina and Berkeley, California.
This week, Identity Evropa posters popped up on campus yet again, despite Damigo having stepped down as the group’s leader. Photos sent to the Journal show flyers that read “Identity Evropa” and feature the group’s logo posted near Naraghi Hall of Science and on light poles near the university’s neighboring intersections.
According to Senior Associate Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Rosalee Rush, university administration is aware of the flyers posted throughout campus. The flyers are being removed, as they are in violation of the campus’ Posting Policy.
“The sentiments represented by the flyers do not reflect the university’s values and commitment to a diverse and inclusive environment,” said Rush.
President Ellen Junn also released a statement about the posters:
“At Stan State, diversity is who we are and inclusion is our chosen path. We are not alone in addressing these issues. Unfortunately, the presence of intolerant and divisive communication is occurring on many public university campuses nationwide. Since my last message to the campus, we have taken proactive actions to counteract these challenging messages in several ways.
“First, we brought together a ‘No Hate at Stan State’ Task Force — comprised of students, faculty and staff — and students created a new campaign slogan: We STANd Together for Unity and Inclusion. Watch for new banners, posters, logos, bookmarks and more across campus building on this new theme.
“Second, we hosted our first Unity and Inclusion Week in October with speakers, events and activities designed to empower students, faculty and staff with strategies to embrace diversity and engage in meaningful dialogue.
“Third, we will be dedicating Stan State’s first Diversity Center next week which will be a home to clubs on campus that focus on celebrating diversity in areas such as race, ethnicity, religion, sexual or gender orientation, and Dreamers. This center will be a place where students are able to explore and seek understanding of diverse identities and perspectives.
“Fourth, in our ongoing effort to protect and safeguard our students, Suzanne Espinoza, vice president for student affairs, will continue to provide updates as necessary to the campus community and work hand-in-hand with our UPD,” continued Junn.
While Stanislaus State senior and Political Science major Adam Webber appreciates the university’s quick response to remove the poster, he does not believe that campus administration views white supremacy as seriously as it should.
Stanislaus State is home to countless minority groups, he explained, and other targets of hate, like the LGBTQ community. He and other members of the campus’ Progressive Alliance club met with university officials Tuesday afternoon to discuss some of those concerns.
“These are all groups that Identity Evropa speaks out against, so we’re really concerned about that. It seems like the administration doesn’t get it. It’s not about speech – this is a group that’s associated with violence,” said Webber. “They can say whatever they want to say, but the fact that they have been tied to Charlottesville and Berkeley shows that this isn’t just hypothetical. These are things that are actually happen and I don’t think administration gets that.”
Calls for Damigo’s expulsion have gone unanswered by the university, even after student’s disrupted President Ellen Junn’s annual fall welcome address.
“We’re talking about the law and American Government, the judicial system,” responded Junn to calls for Damigo’s expulsion.
In August, Damigo announced that he would be stepping down as the leader of Identity Evropa, stating that “I am not hurting financially and my family has not disowned me or withdrawn their support.” He said his announcement was a result of serious contemplation after considering the “proper priorities” in his personal life.
Although Damigo is no longer at the helm of Identity Evropa, Webber believes he is still the culprit behind the flyers’ reappearance.
“That organization is synonymous with him,” said Webber. “There may be someone else on paper that he’s put in charge or the organization, but it’s still all him.”