After the incidents in Charlottesville, Virginia, many schools across the country started to look at white nationalism as a serious problem.
Now, the University of Missouri is saying that it's been made aware that groups spreading white nationalist philosophies have been trying to recruit students online.
“If you become aware of any activity that might violate university policies, please contact the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX,” the letter urges.
While Christian Basi, the school's spokesman, said that the school became aware of incidents but wasn't aware that recruitment was ongoing at their school, they decided to issue the warning to make students aware of the risks.
Recently, both the University of Illinois and New York University issued similar warnings to their students after white supremacist pages targeting their students popped up online.
But in the past, the school known as “Mizzou” had similar experiences — long before Charlottesville happened.
In 2015, Facebook groups known as “White Student Union” started targeting educational organizations and acting as legitimate student bodies. One group in particular focused on Mizzou. Calling itself the Mizzou White Student Union, the appearance of the group online worried the university. At the time, the Southern Poverty Law Center stated that these pages had been created with the goal of recruiting students into their ranks.
Now, Mizzou faculty and staff members are gearing up to fight in the name of safety.
“I haven’t seen or heard anything about white supremacist groups trying to recruit on Mizzou’s campus,” assistant professor of journalism Joshua Kranzberg said. “As a faculty member, I work hard to make sure all of my students feel safe and comfortable. It’s the most important part of my job. Hate and division have no place here at Mizzou, and I’ll do whatever it takes to keep my students safe.”
To students, the existence of such pages and their growth in popularity recently doesn't scare them.
Karen Olowu, an organizer with Black Students for Revolution, says that “[h]istorically, this happens when people of color gather to support themselves.”
To her, white supremacist groups are “formed to terrorize us.”
While we hope these warnings are all that they have been so far, simple warnings, it's important that those who are truly concerned remain vigilant and ready to speak out whenever needed.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts