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White supremacy propaganda resurges

Sticker from the group Patriot Front found at Augustana University.
Augustana Campus Safety
Sticker from the group Patriot Front found at Augustana University.

The beginning of the school year comes with many emotions, but typically not disgust. However, a string of white supremacy propaganda sticker sightings left the community of Augustana University feeling repulsed.

Nora Winckler, a student journalist at Augustana, reported on the propaganda sightings for the Augustana Mirror, the university’s student-run newspaper. Winckler said since September 9th, over a dozen stickers have been found on campus.

“I was taken aback honestly,” she said. “I did not expect anything like that to ever happen, mostly because Augustana is such a safe space for me, and I think most people here. So, to hear that we were having this type of propaganda pop up more than once, and on more than one occasion, was very shocking to me.”

The stickers belong to a group called Patriot Front. The Anti-Defamation League calls it a white supremacist group. Their manifesto advocates for a “hard reset” on today’s America and advises “a return to the traditions and virtues of our forefathers.”

Rick Tupper, the Associate Vice President of Campus Safety & Logistics at Augustana University, said the Augustana community first noticed these propaganda stickers last fall. However, they mostly disappeared until now.

“The decals that we’ve been finding just kind of promote that group,” Tupper said. “The decals don’t say anything about hate topics, it’s just more they’re advertising that Patriot Front exists.”

According to Tupper, Patriot Front propaganda has also been seen across Downtown Sioux Falls, and on the campus of South Dakota State University.

The police have been contacted to track the severity of each message. So far, none of the propaganda stickers have been targeting specific groups or inciting any violence.

Willette Capers is the Assistant Vice Provost of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She told the Mirror there is no room for hate at Augustana. She believes no Augustana student is involved with the placing of these stickers, because they know better than to foster hate.

Tupper said the propaganda sightings have died down since the start of the semester. He encourages students to call campus safety if more stickers are found.

“We don’t want it,” he said. “We don’t want it on our campus, so don’t put in on our campus. So, the challenge is trying to figure out who’s doing it and telling them they aren’t welcome here if that’s what they are trying to push.”

Veda is an English and journalism major at Augustana University in Sioux Falls. She loves writing and storytelling, and she plans to pursue a career as a journalist after graduation.