Chris Meyer, a former U of M student, found white supremacist fliers on Fifth Street last week.
One read “GUN OWNERS RALLY THIS SATURDAY… JOIN US! AT THE CAPITOL.” The other read “Say NO to Mass Migration. Say NO to DACA. Americans Are Dreamers TOO!”
The DACA one features a picture of a family, silhouetted and running at full speed, with the mother dragging along a child and the father carting along an assault rifle.
Both fliers feature a crest with the U of M’s mascot, Goldy Gopher, though he appears to have undergone some Frankensteinian operation that gave him the dour-looking head of Pepe the frog, the unofficial cartoon mascot of the alt-right. The words on the crest say “University of Minnesota White Student Union.”
“Follow us on Facebook!” the flier suggests.
The University of Minnesota White Student Union Facebook group is only a few weeks old. That same Pepe-Goldy crest was uploaded into the profile pic slot on April 11, followed by a flurry of seemingly random hot takes on different broad topics.
Or gender identity.
Or what counts as masculinity, with a dash of Trumpism thrown in.
None of the posts have any likes or comments. At the time this article was written, the only real engagement with the page seemed to be 14 (and counting) one-star reviews and a visitor post that says, simply, “Go fuck yourselves!”
The Facebook group, like everyone’s least favorite person in their middle school gym class, asked the commenter to define the concept of “f**king oneself,” and the commenter didn’t respond.
But even if the Facebook group isn’t getting much attention, the fliers are. To some of the commenters, the flier advertising a gun rally outside the Capitol over the weekend looked like a potential call for violence. One commenter even suggested going to the FBI.
“The U is paralyzed and useless,” they wrote.
The U of M knows about the fliers -- or at least some of them. According to PR director Evan Lapiska, there’s no sign of them yet on campus. They’re mostly in the surrounding area. Unless they appear on campus, they’re really not in violation of any U rules, but they have been flagged.
“We see fliers like this all the time,” Lapiska says.
Another crop popped up in 2015, which prompted a request to Facebook to remove the page. There was no White Student Union registered with the U of M then, and there isn’t one now. Lapiska thinks they’re a few of random trolls trying to get a rise out of people.
As to whether or not they really intended to appear in a gun rally at the Capitol: “Your guess is as good as mine,” he says.
A gun rights rally was held at the Capitol, but it was run by the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, the NRA and the Minnesota GOP -- with no mention of a White Student Union.
The person who runs the Facebook group, who referred to themself only as “k,” says they’re a group of “30 students of European descent” that has been around for “several months.”
No, k says, they’re not a registered U of M group -- they’re trying to work with a professor to get “more official.” But they're “concerned about our careers, schooling, and job future, as the environment towards our group is extremely hostile.”
“We aren’t quite sure why we are attacked for who we are and our identity, because we do believe in equality,” they say.
They also say their group “does not advocate putting up fliers.”
“We are not entirely sure who made them, but we support many of the messages that were printed on them,” they say.
And if people have concerns about the group, they’re “more than happy to talk to them.”