Hate groups alive and well, and one will bring Princeton to a halt Saturday
A new study finds flyers being distributed by white supremacist groups are increasingly showing up on college campuses across the country, including New Jersey.
According to data compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center during the first 10 months of 2018, 1,086 flyers were posted on 262 college campuses, including eight in New Jersey.
From March of 2016 to October of 2017 there were only 329 flyer “incidents.”
The number of flyers posted in New Jersey is small, but Lecia Brooks, the director of outreach at the SPLC, pointed out that “New Jersey has a long reputation of having hate groups present and there’s always been hate activity there.”
A small group of bigoted trolls with a history of using anti-Semitic and white supremacist slogans and and ideas to incite reactions in New Jersey will hold a march in Princeton on Saturday. Police aren’t sure how many people will show up for the event, but the same group held a demonstration in Princeton in November and just six of them showed up.
A much larger group of counter-protestors is expected. Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert is urging everyone to stay calm and not resort to violence.
Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter urged counter-demonstrators to obtain a permit so that authorities will be aware of them and make efforts to protect them.
The streets around Palmer Square, the town's busy shopping district, will be closed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This includes Nassau Street between University Place and Witherspoon Street.
Sutter said protestors may carry signs that are not attached to poles or sticks. Police are not allowing weapons or water bottles made of either glass or plastic in the designated protest areas.
Brooks said hate groups are posting leaflets on campuses as a way to have a “presence” and as a recruitment technique.
“They’re getting media attention. Their names are repeated. It gives them a lot more prominence than maybe they should have.”
She said the message being spread by hate groups is the demographic shifts we’re seeing in this country “portray a dim future for young white males.”
She said what makes white male students particularly vulnerable to this is that “over the past decade or so, campuses have really moved to increase their efforts around diversity, inclusion and equity and, sadly, white male college students don’t see themselves as a part of that.”
In response, she said, a growing number of colleges are “reaching out to all segments of the college community to make sure that everyone knows the diversity and inclusion initiatives apply to everyone.”
She noted those spreading messages of hate and threat try to position themselves as conservative thought leaders.
“That message resonates with some students on campus who count themselves as conservative, then find they’re caught up in this world of hate and division.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com