Racist posters re-emerge at Stanislaus State in Turlock, removed by campus police

California State University Police patrol in and around the CSU Stanislaus campus in Turlock, here shown in front of the Mary Stuart Rogers administrative building on Sept 30, 2015.
California State University Police patrol in and around the CSU Stanislaus campus in Turlock, here shown in front of the Mary Stuart Rogers administrative building on Sept 30, 2015. naustin@modbee.com

More posters supporting the white nationalist group Identity Evropa were found and removed from the Stanislaus State University campus in Turlock this week.

According to Rosalee Rush, the California State University, Stanislaus, Senior Associate Vice President for Communications, Marketing and Media, campus police patrolling the university circle area Wednesday encountered an individual putting up posters with the name and logo of the white supremacist organization. Five such poster-sized rectangular stickers were located and removed, Rush confirmed.

The individual, whose identity is not being released, is not a student and is not affiliated with the university, Rush said. The officer told the individual that the posters were in violation of the posting policy. Additional stickers for Identity Evropa which had not been posted yet were also found.

The individual was not detained, and no charges are being filed, Rush said.

Stanislaus State University President Ellen Junn released a statement about the incident Friday. Neither Identity Evropa or its white supremacist message were mentioned in her comments, but she encouraged students who were feeling “emotionally distressed” by the incident to contact the Student Health Center, Psychological Counseling Services or StanCares team.

“The campus will continue to meet with students and others to provide ongoing support and information. Ensuring the safety and well-being of our students is of utmost importance and our primary concern. We will continue to take action steps as appropriate,” Junn said in the written statement.

Rush said the reason the individual was stopped was not the content of the posters, but because the university’s policy forbids the posting of non-approved posters or stickers with adhesive.

“If any group goes through the proper procedures for our posting policy and they are approved, then we must abide by the policy,” Rush said. “We do not support any hate rhetoric, but we also must abide by free speech constitutional rights.”

This is the third such incident involving stickers, posters or fliers about Identity Evropa on the campus since 2016. That is the same year Stanislaus State alumnus Nathan Damigo, who was then a student at the university, founded the group. Last May the Oakdale resident graduated from the university with a social sciences degree.

Identity Evropa has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and an extremist white supremacist organization by the Anti-Defamation League. Its messages include slogans like “You will not replace us” and “Keep your diversity, we want identity.”

Damingo has been in the news for his participation in various white nationalist events, including helping to organize the deadly August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Damigo stepped away from leading Identity Evropa not long after Charlottesville, but still called it “a huge victory” on Twitter. A woman was killed and 40 others injured when one of the rally participants rammed his car into a crowd of counter protestors.

Damigo and other Unite the Right organizers, including Identity Evropa, are facing several lawsuits stemming from the deadly Charlotesville rally. Earlier this month, a Modesto judge ruled Damigo could not avoid a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit group Integrity First America by declaring bankruptcy. Identity Evropa is one of the other defendants in the federal lawsuit.

Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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