White Nationalist Recruitment on IU’s Campus

White Nationalist Recruitment on IU’s Campus

For many people in Bloomington and at Indiana University, Neo-Nazi and Neo-Fascist recruitment is reprehensible but free speech, and therefore falls under the protections and privileges enumerated in the first amendment. [1] This attitude toward hate speech and imagery ignores the way hate groups utilize encoded speech in white supremacist visual culture and use social media platforms (both public and dark web) to amplify calls for acts of political violence against marginalized people. Our aim as a research collective is to illuminate the recruitment strategies utilized by white supremacist groups to make the case that proactive measures must be taken to protect Indiana University community members from racist violence. Though university administrators are hesitant to offer policies they feel would make them the arbiters of free speech, the existing policies and practices on campus have largely focused on white supremacist flyers or speaking engagements and have not been amended to account for new tactics in white supremacist recruiting. This gap in policy has contributed to the growth in domestic terrorist organizations on university campuses across the US in the past decade.

Students holding a banner that reads "IU No Platform for White Supremacy"
Demonstrators against Charles Murray (Credit: Herald Times)
Photo from Charles Murray Protest at IU (2017)
Protesters demonstrate against Charles Murray outside Franklin Hall at IU (Credit: Herald Times)

Our policies on speech ought to be informed by research, scholarship, and empiricism, and must address the very direct role of hate speech and imagery in the rise in violence against Black, Brown, Asian, Muslim and Jewish people in America. Public statements by administrators will not stem the rising tide of white supremacist influence on college campuses. Reaffirmations of the university’s commitments to “diversity and inclusion” must be accompanied by policy changes which demonstrate the institution’s dedication to justice and equity. In this report, we conclude that Indiana University must take proactive steps to curb white supremacists’ access to campus and strengthen its institutional policies and practices on racist bias.

Recruitment & current practices

White supremacist recruiting on college campuses is ascendant. A wide variety of white far-right extremist groups ranging from white supremacists to white nationalists and violent far-right anti-establishment groups are actively seeking to recruit new young members into their ranks. [2] Three-year trend analysis by the ADL shows that the amount of white supremacist propaganda on college campuses has increased since 2017. Indiana University is a prime example of this upward trend: in 2019 alone there were more than seven incidents of white supremacist propaganda on or around campus and in digital spaces used by IU students. In 2020, multiple Zoombombing incidents demonstrated the specific challenges faced by faculty and staff working in online environments. These incidents have not only traumatized participants, they have revealed the extent to which managing online interactions is made even more difficult through the use of an insecure communication platform. 

Our role as researchers tracking far-right extremist groups in the Midwest has been to collect and analyze publicly available information disseminated on digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Gab, Telegram, PACER and Discord about the activities of white supremacist organizations in Central Indiana. No Space For Hate’s Research Division monitors the spread of digital and physical propaganda across institutions throughout the Midwest as well as communication channels in the interests of public safety. In addition to qualitative data analysis, we analyze narrative accounts about disturbing incidents of white supremacist recruitment and harassment in their classrooms provided to us by concerned community members. Our initial findings about the Bias Incident Report system indicate that faculty, staff, and students may be under-reporting incidents of bias and recruitment due to misunderstandings about how the process of reporting works and a lack of knowledge about reporting outcomes. We found that undergraduate students were most likely to report incidents on campus, while faculty and graduate students were less likely to use the system unless they felt the incident was “severe enough” that it rose to the level of departmental attention. A wider study of how students, faculty and staff use this system could provide stronger quantitative data on this issue.

Despite this, a few of the community members we spoke to informed us that they have filed reports this year. They cited a rise in incidents of racism and homophobia on campus as the reason for reporting. In conversation with one respondent, we learned that the incidents of racism have become so difficult in their position on campus that they are reconsidering a career in academia altogether. Almost all of the community members we spoke to stated that they perceived the Bias Incident Reports to have little or no purpose beyond data collection. Although some of our researchers have been working to clarify misperceptions about the reporting system to assist Director Harris, we believe that empowered institutional actors must work to make the process of reporting and its outcomes more transparent. We recommend that the university initiate a campus-wide, anonymized climate survey on bias to provide the institution with a clearer picture of how IU community members experience bias and encounter white supremacist recruiters.

Flyers and White Supremacist Territoriality

Although scholarship in 2019 suggested that membership in white supremacist groups in Indiana was decreasing, evidence now suggests that white nationalist groups have launched massive recruitment efforts to increase their numbers. White supremacist recruitment is an urgent issue on IU’s campus, and one that University administrators must respond to. White supremacist groups have been highly active across central Indiana, particularly in regions with historical ties to domestic terrorist organizations such as the Klu Klux Klan, Aryan Nation, the American Vanguard and other affiliated neo-Nazi goups. All of these groups have been designated as Racially Motivated Extremist Groups by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Identity Evropa (now re-named the American Identity Movement or AmIM due to multiple lawsuits surrounding their role in the Unite the Right rally in 2017) has been very active in this region since 2016. 

Members of IE/AmIM in Indiana are part of a large network of white supremacists who coordinate regional propaganda campaigns via social media platforms like Discord. Records from Discord show that a hub of IE members focused their attention on regional and flagship campuses, posting flyers, stickers and bookmarks. Members of IE posted photos and chats celebrating their “activism” on behalf of the neo-Nazi organization. Evidence from the chats demonstrates that higher up members in the Central Indiana hub targeted IUPUI and IU Bloomington campus for their recruitment campaign. Of particular interest are the chats linked to Peter Diezel, a former Marine x-ray technologist who is now one of the most recognizable faces in midwest fascist organizations. Diezel was responsible for the flyering at Franklin College, Indiana State University and IU Southeast.

Hate group recruitment is not like the normal sharing of ideas that happens in a school. Hate propaganda consists of texts and/or images that reinforce systems of racial domination; it is designed to send coded but direct threats to certain groups and reassure other groups of their power and superiority. The placement of white supremacist images and texts in everyday spaces where students and faculty will encounter them is a symbolic act in itself designed to showcase white supremacists’ abilities to evade capture and circumvent institutional policy. As the SPLC contends, “Violence has always been at the core of the white power movement. It’s justified by a belief that a genocide is being committed against white people, which paints violence on the part of extremists as defensive. It’s also irrational to suggest that any of the movement’s goals – racial separation or the creation of an ethnostate – could ever possibly occur without violence.”

As an example of how white supremacist propaganda images communicate calls to violence, a 2019 flyering campaign the American Identity Movement (formerly IE) stated that “Diversity Destroys Nations”. Appropriating imagery from American World War II propaganda, the text is set against an ominous yellow sky, a newly destroyed home and a blown-out car reminiscent of photos of post-war destruction. The image amplifies the textual message: “diversity” (read: racial, sexual and religious Others) is a weapon of annihilation targeting “American identity” (read: a white nuclear family) for destruction. World War II propaganda has a powerful allure which conjures notions of the “Greatest Generation”and the Allied forces’ battle against the inhuman cruelties of the Axis powers. Casting themselves in the role of the Allies, members of the American Identity Movement envision white supremacy as a righteous struggle to ward off the encroachment of “outside values” they believe will cause the destruction of American (read: white) identity. Our initial findings suggest that flyering incidents like these precede hate crimes and violence against marginalized groups. They are, in fact, the writing on the wall. 

White nationalist groups like IE/AmIM view the university as a key battleground in their war to establish a white ethnostate: it is a front they plan to invade, disrupt, and ultimately destroy. Most people are not predisposed to political violence. They must be groomed, misled, manipulated, coerced, and convinced their lives depend upon taking action. That is why these movements begin with propaganda. Propaganda like this is, in effect, always a threat of violence and a means to show marginalized people that white supremacists can reach them anywhere, any time and face no consequences. White supremacist flyers not only communicate racist messages like the one in the example above, they are a means for white supremacist organizations to lay claim to specific regional and institutional territories as safe spaces for fascist and white supremacist organizing.

Flyering at IU Bloomington between 2017 and 2019 suggests this campus is a strategic recruitment target for white supremacist groups in Indiana. The 2017 flyering of Ballantine Hall and the Maurer School of Law by Identity Evropa members bears the same hallmarks of Peter Diezel’s activities on other campuses, with flyers specifically targeting high traffic areas where marginalized groups were most likely to come into contact with the propaganda. Indiana University requested the assistance of the FBI in the investigation of the incident. However, the results of the investigation did not lead to an arrest or conviction of the perpetrators. [3] College student recruits from Identity Evropa have participated in national conferences for white supremacist organizations, in activist campaigns, incidents of anti-Semitic terrorism and “swatting” that specifically targets Black and Brown students and churchgoers. As digital recruitment strategies are on the rise, we believe the university will see an increase in doxxing activity against faculty, staff and students, much of which will be launched from social media or chat platforms like Telegram and Gab. Zoombombings will continue to pose a serious threat to online learning and to university meetings, not only disrupting daily functions but traumatizing participants with images ranging from anti-Semitic slurs to child pornography. Given Zoom’s questionable security features and extensive illegal sales of user data, we side with faculty members at multiple institutions who have called for universities to stop using this platform.

In addition to IE/AmIM, the KKK also led a flyering campaign on campus and across Bloomington in 2019. The Klan has an extensive and violent history in Indiana, most directly documented on IU’s campus by the Thomas Hart Benton murals which bear witness to Indiana’s racist history. Last summer, Klan flyers were found in student housing, specifically targeted at multiracial families whose very existence the Klan deems an abomination. While we as a research group were happy to see IU’s swift condemnation of Klan violence, the university must acknowledge that events like this one are part of a growing pattern of both violent threats and physical attacks against marginalized groups  in Central Indiana. 

Targeting specific groups for flyering requires extensive surveillance in advance. White supremacists understand that flyering can be used to strategically terrorize people of color, reminding them that the long arm of white supremacy can reach into their homes and student housing at any moment, that white supremacists are watching them. Considering that the Klan in Indiana was renowned for brutal lynchings and other murders, the implication of any such flyer is that death and violence may follow. On this, historian Linda Gordon writes that the Klan used “terrorist lynchings and beatings, strategically employed, suppressing black citizenship rights at the polls and in the courts.” [4] While the contemporary Klan has been unsuccessful in its efforts to recruit, militia groups and white supremacists have renewed calls to obstruct Black and Brown people’s abilities to vote at polling places. This issue is of grave concern as we approach the presidential election in November. As researchers, we expect to see voter intimidation and the disruption of political events held on or around campus by white supremacists and armed militia groups. The university should be prepared for this eventuality.

In addition to Identity Evropa and the Klan, several other groups have asserted their presence in Indiana in new and troubling manners. Patriot Front, a white nationalist group known for their participation in the planning of the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, has been highly active in central Indiana with extensive flyer campaigns on college campuses. Their propaganda adopts the images and messaging of World War I recruitment posters and Nativist rhetoric. Such images may be easily misread as “pro-American”; however, their manifesto explicitly declares that only whites can be considered “the founding stock of our people.”

Two additional groups have actively attempted to recruit students on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus: National Vanguard and the Proud Boys. The presence of neo-fascist and Neo-Nazi groups on campus represents a clear and present danger to the safety of the broader IU community.National Vanguard sought to recruit students at Wells Library during the Fall semester of 2019. They dressed in suits and handed out business cards to students which provided students with links to the Vanguard’s recruitment websites. Thankfully, the students reported this incident to the IU Bias Response Team. Members of the National Vanguard are extremely violent with an extensive history of anti-semitic hate crimes, and assaults. The Vanguard collapsed in 2007 due to child pornography charges against its founding director. However, since that time they have been rebuilding their organization, seeking to mainstream their belief that political violence against Jews and African Americans is necessary to establish a white fascist ethnostate.  That the Vanguard felt they could recruit students last semester should be considered a sign that neo-Nazi terrorist organizations are specifically targeting Bloomington students for recruitment and surveillance. All efforts should be taken to ensure that members of Vanguard are banned from campus. 

The second neo-fascist group seeking to increase their numbers on campus are the Proud Boys. Established by Gavin McInnes during the 2016 presidential election, the Proud Boys describe themselves as “Western chauvinists”, meaning that they believe white people are the inventors and protectors of “Western culture.” Their group has an extensive history of assaulting protesters in actions that bear a striking resemblance to organized white mob violence from the early 20th century. McInnes himself has been known to bring weapons with him to his speaking engagements with far-right clubs and organizations. There have been multiple reports of young white men students on IU campus who claim to be affiliated with this group. We recommend that the University consider expelling students who continue their membership in extremist organizations. In addition, the university should implement anti-racist training for students, faculty and staff which provides them with the knowledge about how to recognize white supremacist groups and recruitment tactics. 

New Frontiers in Recruitment

Incidents of white supremacist propaganda distribution are designed to create bounded spaces in institutions of higher learning where racism and ethnonationalism will be included within the “free market of ideas”. They do so hoping to sow the seeds for potential acts of political violence against marginalized groups. White supremacist propaganda always preceeds white supremacist violence. Universities must refuse to cater to white supremacist rhetoric under the auspices of “freedom of speech”. While previously IU has responded to bias incidents by collecting data and releasing official statements that denounce white supremacy, white supremacist organizations have exploited institutional policy loopholes to ensure their propaganda (both speech and flyers) is given a platform on campus. They assert their presence in public spaces, placing flyers in parking lots and stickers on public utilities. Like the colonial powers they extol as the pinnacle of “Western civilization”, white supremacist groups use symbolic speech to establish their dominion over campus to “retake” the space from those they believe pose a threat to white racial hegemony. 

There is no reason the University should tolerate rhetorical conquest and dominance since it is antithetical to free inquiry. Refusing to host white nationalist speakers and repercussions for participation in hate groups is a good start. But Universities must also reject funds from sources that also give to white nationalism. Schools that rely on such donors are a major liability. To wit, the Kelley School of Business accepts donations from the Koch Brothers Foundation, which also funds a campus organization called “Turning Point USA.” While not declared an official hate group, TPUSA leaders have expressed public support for the white supremacist members of the boogaloo movement who seek to overthrow the American government to establish a white fascist ethnostate. TPUSA leadership’s alignment with far-right groups that seek to foment a “race war” is suggestive of a broader problem that we are currently monitoring: we are seeing formerly alt-right and alt-lite groups now aligning with far-right accelerationist groups. 

Previously, TPUSA was best known for compiling Professor Watchlist, a McCarthy-esque list of faculty who teach in Africana and Gender Studies whom they deem “cultural Marxists”. We remain deeply concerned that the revitalization of TPUSA’s surveillance of campuses will be used to target faculty and students for hate crimes and violence. This year, Charlie Kirk renewed TPUSA’s commitment to disrupting the functions of higher education, calling upon members of the organization to screen-shot and record class materials in classes on race, immigration and US history. Some campus community members we spoke with are minimizing their participation in in-class discussions that are viewable by their classmates for this reason. This has had a distinct chilling effect on both faculty and associate instructors who are now more at risk than ever for presenting course materials and historical facts that white supremacist groups view as “degenerate” or “traitorous”.

There are four members of TPUSA that we know of currently enrolled at Indiana University, and all of them are in the Kelley School of Business. Information on their involvement is publicly available. Additionally, a KSB faculty member has been very vocal in speaking out against anti-racist protests last year using rhetoric and language indicative of far-right ideology. Faculty members who come from departments that take money from the same donors as many white nationalist campus organizations should not be treated as authoritative sources on questions of hate speech or free speech. The University must take a strong stance against KSB’s continued relationship with the Koch Brothers Foundation, and it must also put members of TPUSA on notice. Any support for the boogaloo is support for domestic terrorism.

Nativism and White Supremacist Mainstreaming

Over the past year we have received reports from concerned faculty and associate instructors who have encountered students attempting to recruit their classmates into hate groups. One such incident occurred in the Fall of 2019 in which an associate instructor discovered that one of the students in their section had been attempting to get others in his class to join the KKK. Another reported that students were using language in discussions directly quoted from Mein Kampf, in statements that called for the “ghettoization of immigrants.” While instructors have indicated to us that these stories are not representative of the majority of their students, they have noted a distinct increase in incidents of recruitment and racism since 2016. Instructors of color have detailed experiences involving micro and macro aggressions against them from students and faculty, often in ways that question their authority because of their racial or ethnic identity. These are neither individual incidents nor “a few bad apples” rather, we contend they evidence a pattern of white supremacist sentiment that must be addressed at the institutional level. While many Hoosiers are working against racism, there is a contingent on campus who do not believe that people of color, LGBTQ folks, religious minorities, those with disabilities including neurodiverse communities have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The university must face this issue head on now to prevent white supremacist violence on campus. 

Current trends in white supremacist student organizing indicate a new shift to mainstreaming fascist policy under the banner of “Americanism” or “America First” policy. Student organizations that frame their purpose using “America First” rhetoric are now taking the place of more explicitly white supremacist organizations such as the Traditional Workers Party. We believe the most likely model for these new organizations will look like the America First Students group begun by Jaden McNeil at Kansas State University. Although universities should avoid policing the speech of students and faculty, when that speech is affiliated with white supremacist organizations we believe there is established precedent to demand the group conform to the university’s student code or have its status revoked. McNeil began his group after communicating extensively with Patrick Casey and Nicholas Fuentes of the American Identity Movement. Describing AFS as “an organization for strong borders, traditional families, the American worker, and Christian values”, McNeil presents his group through the language of mainstream conservatism. However, conservative groups on KSU campus cut connections with McNeil after he refused to stop affiliating with known white supremacist organizers and circulating fascist propaganda through his Twitter account. 

McNeil’s case represents the new frontier of fascist organizing on campus with which universities will need to contend. He uses dissembling rhetoric to ensure that AFS remains a university-sanctioned campus organization despite his extensive ties to the extremist groups involved in the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville. Students who maintain close ties to members of violent neo-Nazi organizations should not have the ability to create new on-campus organizations which will be used to spread white supremacist and xenophobic propaganda, and potentially lead to violence against marginalized students, faculty and staff. Indiana University should consider barring McNeil and members of the America First Political Action Coalition (AFPAC) from campus. AFPAC is a splinter group of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, identitarians and other alt-right groups who are seeking to establish a place for themselves outside of mainstream American conservative organizing at events like CPAC.

AFPAC’s members seek to promote xenophobic immigration policies and manufacture social media conspiracies about universities and “anti-white bias”. They view their organization as challenging what they perceive to be the dominance of “leftists and corporate conservatives” in American culture. We believe that given AFPAC’s record of recruiting college students this past year they will increasingly target students on large public university campuses for recruitment and radicalization. To be clear, organizations that espouse and seek to spread fascism and white supremacy should not be regarded as legitimate political entities by the university. Their attempts to recruit should be understood as antagonistic to the aims of the university as a humanist project and as a strategy designed to disrupt student learning on campus.

Policy, Policing and Practice

Even as IU moves towards reopening during a global pandemic, it must take steps to ensure the safety of the campus community from far-right extremist groups and prevent attacks by actors aligned with their ideology. A year ago, our researchers believed that white supremacist networks were activating in anticipation of the 2020 presidential election and as a result of increasing civil unrest. While previously white supremacist networks fractured along fault lines over strategies for realizing a white ethnostate, there is now significant evidence that the interests of disparate alt-right, ultranationalist  and white supremacist groups are aligning with violent accelerationist tactics. According to political ecologist Alexander Reid Ross, there have been “272 incidents of intimidation, harassment and shootings, and 24 vehicular attacks on anti-racist protesters in 198 counties” in the US since May 26th. Researchers of far-right and ultranationalist groups are currently monitoring a new development: events planned by militia groups to “retake” cities where Black Lives Matter rallies have taken place. Going forward, we believe this will be the primary goal of far-right militia groups and ultranationalists. 

Universities remain a key battleground for far-right extremist organizations seeking to enter mainstream American political discourse. These groups believe that universities are centers of indoctrination that must be disrupted and dismantled. Entry into the university lays the groundwork for the disruption of classes and furnishes a new territory to seek recruits swayed by their ideology. Universities must be ready to protect their students hosting on-campus protests from violent “counter-protesters” on the far right. In the coming academic year we expect to see white supremacist organizations attempt to disrupt student life on college campuses across the US, specifically targeting activities that allow them to test the limits of freedom of speech and the second amendment. While this may take the form of far-right protest actions, we believe that white supremacist networks will specifically seek to target protests against white supremacy and police brutality, and campus voter registration events. Right-wing supporters of the Boogaloo movement have been following these protests carefully, seeking to foment violence and rally new members to their cause. Although scholars studying the Boogaloo movement have found that it includes a wide spectrum of political alignments and perspectives, in Central Indiana white supremacist militia groups aligned with this ideology have targeted protesters for surveillance, harassment, and assault. 

Threat Assessment for the 2020/2021 AY

Given the current patterns of white supremacist violence and organizing, universities should be on high alert for potential attacks on or around their campuses in the coming year. We believe universities should be extremely concerned about the safety of their students, faculty and staff given the rapid acceleration of white supremacist and far-right aligned violence across the US. [5] Since Minneapolis police officers murdered George Floyd on May 25th there have been 66 vehicular attacks on protesters and rally attendees. As Ari Weil, deputy research director of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats recently observed, vehicular attacks at protests and other local events are on the increase. While many of these threats at the national level originate from extremist groups, the calls for vehicular attacks have spread through social media networks, spurring on “lone-wolf” attackers. On the viral spread of calls for violence, Weil writes,

Nor are they particularly hard to find, surfacing on social media and even in mainstream outlets. In January 2017, the Daily Caller shared a video of several vehicle rammings, writing: ‘Study the technique; it may prove useful in the next four years.’ The author bragged on Facebook that the video had received 2 million views in 24 hours… But these memes are not limited to the dark corners of the internet, and neither are these attacks. We are now seeing everyone from an avowed extremist in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a reported Ku Klux Klan member in Lakeside, Virginia, to an older woman in Indiana charged in this kind of attack.

Of the threats our research team has reviewed on social media in the past three months, most cluster around Indianapolis and Bloomington, where militia organizations and white ethnonationalists have publicly posted violent memes and calls for violence against protesters that now permeate local social media networks. These memes make specific calls for both vehicular attacks and for armed violence against protesters, healthcare personnel, and anyone perceived to be affiliated with “antifa.” [6] On the ground, however, our researchers have noticed disturbing trends in how white supremacist organizations are tracking protesters. This past month, our research team discovered that armed III% militiamen had surveilled protesters at Black Lives Matter events in Bloomington and Bedford. We believe this surveillance may be intended to assess possible avenues of attack as well as to track down and stalk journalists, activists and other protest attendees as some of our researchers have seen in other states. In addition, we have been tracking vehicular attacks in the state of Indiana to conduct a local risk assessment. Indiana has had 4 such vehicular attacks in the past two months, three of which occurred less than two weeks ago, and two of which took place in Bloomington. Some of these attacks appear to have originated from members of known white supremacist organizations. However as with the widely publicized attack in Bloomington on the rally for Vauhxx Booker, some of the attackers are not members of hate groups but align with their stance against protesters. It is our assessment that we will see more vehicular attacks in the coming months as protests of police violence continue and as we move further toward the presidential election.

White supremacist boogaloo groups have been calling for vehicular attacks on social media throughout May and June of 2020. That dozens of incidents of this nature have occurred in just one month across the US demonstrates how vital social media messaging is to right-wing extremists seeking to normalize violence. Yet these attacks are not new. Vehicular attacks have been a favored tactic by white nationalist groups and their affiliates since the murder of Heather Heyer in 2017. Only a few days ago, a UVA student was captured on film harassing protesters and threatening to run them over. We believe that at the very least, universities should move to prevent this by creating pedestrian-only areas around the perimeter of protest zones. Law enforcement present at university events should be thoroughly briefed on how to identify members of far-right extremist groups.

Throughout the Midwest, universities should be prepared in the coming semesters for violence by white nationalist groups, militias, and lone-wolf actors who are sympathetic to their ideas  threatening students’ rights to freely assemble, protest and vote without fear for their safety. To counter the rising tide of white supremacist violence and keep students, faculty and staff safe, NSFH Research Division recommends the following policy initiatives:

  1. The university’s first priority must be to ensure the physical safety of its students. Indiana University must prioritize the safety of BIPOC, LGBTQ, disabled and religious communities targeted by white supremacist organizations. The presence of white nationalists, Neo-Nazis, right-wing militias, and racist motorcycle clubs presents a clear and present danger to the campus community. 
  2. The University should invest in developing curricular resources (in consultation with anti-racist education experts and pedagogues) to counter the unwelcoming environment we are likely to experience this fall and beyond. This should include equity and justice trainings for faculty, staff and students and/or mandatory social justice coursework commensurate with Indiana University’s statement on its commitment to creating a welcoming environment for all students. Incoming students should be required to take a full semester course on race, ability, identity and community at IU.
  3. Multiple independent investigative reports and official FBI briefings have located troubling connections between police agencies and far right extremist groups. IU must conduct a study of the IUPD conducted by researchers with expertise in this area which should evaluate campus police officers to ensure they are not current members of white supremacist groups, anti-government militias or known hate groups. The results of this investigation must be transparent and accessible to the larger IU public.
  4. The University must establish a civilian oversight commission for the IUPD to review complaints and departmental policies. Without oversight and transparency, there can be no accountability to the publics they serve.
  5. IU must critically analyze the passive institutional language of “diversity and inclusion” understanding the ways in which these policies in practice are an impediment to justice and equity.
  6. Further, the University must prioritize the need for specific mental health resources to meet the needs of IU faculty, staff, and students who experience racism in different registers. Counselling staff at CAPS must receive training on how to counsel students who are members of hate groups.
  7.  Scholars with known ties to white nationalist organizations and whose scholarship is used to propagate harmful racist ideas about marginalized communities should not be given institutional imprimatur to speak at on-campus events. This includes all scholars who propagate racist-science and the idea of the supposed “biological inferiority” of groups that have historically been targeted for genocide.
  8. IU should launch a University-wide research project that roots out IU’s racist past and history, moving beyond the Bicentennial initiatives. This should be systematic and run by professional historians and interdisciplinary experts in racism, institutional and otherwise.

[1] In this report, we use the phrase “white supremacist” to characterize what is ultimately a wide array of organizations and movements; this is because we are interested in general trends and patterns in the activity of a number of groups, taking into account both campus and the surrounding area. That being said, some groups, such as American Identity Movement and III% militia groups, are more prominent in Indiana than others, such as Atomwaffen Division, and we do try to provide a focus on those organizations that have the most local influence. For more on the different terms used to discuss hate group activity, please see the ADL’s glossary of white supremacist terms.

[2] For more on how neo-Nazi accelerationist groups like Atomwaffen Division recruit college students to commit violent hate crimes, please see: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/pr/former-atomwaffen-division-leader-arrested-swatting-conspiracy

[3] Since that time, Peter Diezel has assisted neo-Nazi recruiter Sarah Dye in her activities at the Bloomington Farmer’s Market. Together, Diezel and Dye form a key hub for IE in Central Indiana, maintaining close ties with the head of IE/AmIM, Patrick Casey. During her time in the market, Dye has employed different strategies for recruitment more aligned with new frontiers in digital white supremacist organizing. She has used her fame as a prominent woman in neo-Nazi organizing to rally supporters to doxx university and city employees on a white supremacist Youtube channel, spread anti-Asian conspiracy theories about COVID-19, and launched a social media brand for herself. Her strategic use of Instagram, Twitter, far-right Youtube channels and podcasts is representative of the digital propaganda and recruitment style used by many current IE/AmIM members designed to target young audiences. Thus while Dye and her supporters may appear to some as fringe elements, they are the figureheads in the new digital frontier of neo-Nazi recruiting.

[4] See Linda Gordon. The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan and the American Political Tradition. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2017.

[5] Here we use the term “white supremacist” to refer specifically to members of known hate organizations, while distinguishing those who are not affiliated but sympathetic to their cause as “far-right aligned”.

[6] This term has become a catch-all phrase divorced from the context of “antifascism” as an ideology. Rather, in colloquial terms it has been used to target BIPOC, gender non-conforming individuals, religious minorities and protesters more broadly.