BURLINGTON, Vt.- For the second time in less than a year, stickers and posters linked to an online white nationalist campaign have surfaced on the University of Vermont campus.
On Tuesday, police received reports of a sign posted near the Davis Center. Officers found additional posters and stickers nearby.
“We really don’t want those folks in our community,” said Deputy Chief Tim Bilodeau, University of Vermont Police Services.
The stickers and posters read “keep America American and “better dead than red”.
“It’s got the Patriot Front group noted on it as well which we have some familiarity with,” said Bilodeau.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Patriot Front as a hate group. It protests the black, immigrant and refugee populations.
“For us it’s, hey there is an attempt to divide,” said Bilodeau. “You know really ostracize people within your community.”
In February, similar flyers surfaced at a synagogue and gay youth center in Burlington.
“I think this is something as a nation we have to come to grips with,” said Senator Dick Sears, D- Bennington District.
The Senate Judiciary Committee chair heard testimony on what seems to be a growing trend across the state.
“We need to do everything we can to make sure that this state is as inclusive and welcoming of diverse populations as possible,” he said.
In an effort to curtail hate speech in Vermont, the legislature recently approved creating a new outreach position with the Human Rights Commission.
“It would allow them to do more outreach when there are situations like these,” he said. “Hopefully people will call the human right commission on these things.”
As for UVM, university officials denounce the group’s “racist ideology and tactics, which deliberately target people of color and run counter to their core values as a university community.”
“We stand behind all of our community members and we’re going to certainly do what we can in this case to encourage that to not occur here,” said Bilodeau.
Police say it’s unclear whether a student posted the posters and stickers. But its officers are working closely with the Burlington Police Department and the FBI.