St. Olaf community members recently found at least eight white supremacist postings on campus, prompting a Public Safety investigation and campus-wide discussion.
The postings promoted Patriot Front, a white supremacist, fascist group formed in the wake of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., according to the Anti-Defamation League website.
Bruce King, Assistant to the President for Institutional Diversity, condemned the postings and announced the Public Safety investigation in an Oct. 5 email.
The discovery of these postings prompted the Student Government Association (SGA) Senate to pass a resolution Oct. 8 condemning white supremacy and calling for reforms in the College’s response to threats against the community.
Tyler Krohn ’21 found and photographed a Patriot Front sticker on the posterbox outside of the back entrance of the Theater Building on Sept. 28. Krohn then scraped off the sticker and reported it to the College.
The sticker read, “ONE NATION AGAINST INVASION. PATRIOTFRONT.us,” and featured the fasces – a bundle of rods surrounding an axe historically used as a fascist symbol.
A similar posting was found on campus, and Public Safety launched an investigation into the postings, King wrote in a Sept. 30 email to Krohn.
Three days later, Charlie Moe ’23 found and scratched out a Patriot Front sticker on a lamp post next to Holland Hall at 11:30 a.m.
The sticker read, “PATRIOT FRONT. LIFE—LIBERTY—VICTORY,” and featured the fasces.
Moe photographed the sticker, scratched it out, and posted the photograph on a student-run Facebook page.
Moe has not reported the sticker to Public Safety because it is possible someone in town, who is not a student, put the sticker up. He did not want to create “mass hysteria,” Moe said.
The spate of posting sightings continued that weekend. The Manitou Messenger found a Patriot Front sticker on a lamp post behind Buntrock Commons Oct. 4 at 8:42 a.m.
The sticker read, “PATRIOT FRONT. TO OURSELVES AND OUR POSTERITY,” and featured a bald eagle and a fasces.
Later that day, the Manitou Messenger found a Patriot Front poster on a column behind Buntrock Commons. The poster was torn, but the words “LIFE” and “LIBERTY” were legible.
Mallory Lindahl ’21 found a Patriot Front poster on a lamp post between the Hall of Music and Christiansen Hall of Music on Saturday, Oct. 5 around 5:15 p.m. Lindahl photographed the poster, took it down and posted the picture on a student-run Facebook page.
The poster read, “LIFE OF OUR NATION. LIBERTY OF OUR PEOPLE. VICTORY OF THE AMERICAN SPIRIT. PATRIOTFRONT.us.”
That evening, the Manitou Messenger found two stickers on lamp posts across from Ytterboe and Hoyme Halls.
One sticker read, “REJECT POISON. PATRIOTFRONT.us,” and featured an image denouning recreational drugs.
The other sticker read, “AMERICA IS NOT FOR SALE. PATRIOTFRONT.us,” and featured two arms chained together. The chain was in the shape of a dollar sign.
Public Safety’s investigation of the graphics has not revealed who is responsible for the postings, King said.
“I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if these came from members in our very Northfield geographic area,” King said.
Patriot Front graphics were indeed put up in at least four locations in Northfield, according to a Sept. 14 Patriot Front Twitter post.
However, the Northfield Police Department said they have not received any reports of Patriot Front postings in town.
There have also been no reports of Patriot Front postings at Carleton College, said Director of Security and Emergency Management John Bermel.
“We think it is a mistake to give this group and its message the attention they are seeking, but we also want to stand up loudly against hate.”
– Bruce King
Patriot Front’s postings at St. Olaf are part of a Twitter-documented tactic of displaying their graphics on university and college campuses throughout the nation. As of Oct. 7, Patriot Front’s Twitter page is suspended, but they appear to have created a new account.
King condemned white supremacy and encouraged community members with information
about the postings to file a bias incident report in an Oct. 5 email.
“We think it is a mistake to give this group and its message the attention they are seeking, but we also want to stand up loudly against hate,” King wrote.