After discovering campus vandalism by white supremacists, Xavier University has one message: “These incidents were an attack on our community.”
Xavier president Michael Graham, S.J., shared those words in a statement to the university on Monday about hateful stickers and destruction of property found on campus on Jan. 30.
The Xavier Newswire, the university’s independent student newspaper, reports that Xavier University Police and the school’s Bias Advisory and Response Team (BART) are investigating incidents that included a sliced Black Lives Matter banner and numerous stickers promoting Patriot Front, a white nationalist group, posted throughout campus.
The stickers read “America is not for sale,” “Conquered, not stolen,” “Reclaim America” and “Better dead than red,” the Newswire reports.
The 2021 Xavier Police Crime and Fire Log shows incidents of “criminal mischief” and “criminal damaging” at Bellarmine Chapel and Campus Services Building for Jan. 30.
University officials sent campus community members an alert Saturday evening about the incidents. The Newswire reports that the message said, in part, “Xavier is aware that material from a group that advocates extremist ideologies (were found on campus)… and that a Black Lives Matter sign was vandalized… XUPD has removed the material and is investigating the situation. Hate has no home in the Xavier community.”
Graham condemned the incidents in his statement on Monday.
“As a University we shall continue to denounce these acts. And as our president, I will continue to unequivocally declare my belief – our belief – that Racism is a Sin and BLACK LIVES MATTER. You can be sure, as well, that we will investigate these crimes. Let me also assure you that we will leverage all of our resources to care for the safety and wellbeing of all our community members, in particular our Black students, staff, and faculty. These responses are, of course, not nearly enough,” Graham said. [All emphasis is Graham’s.]
Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups within the United States, describes Patriot Front as “an image-obsessed organization that rehabilitated the explicitly fascist agenda of Vanguard America with garish patriotism. Patriot Front focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country.”
In its 2021 “Year in Hate and Extremism” report, released Feb. 1, and on its “Hate Map,” Southern Poverty Law Center identifies that there were 21 hate groups in Ohio during 2020, with some in Cincinnati and some in multiple locations.