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Anti-immigrant group’s flyers found on Clemson campus

Courtesy of John Henry Murdy.

An SOO flyer found on a bulletin board inside Daniel Hall last week. 

UPDATE (3/8/18 11 a.m.): Story has been updated to include information from Clemson University spokesperson.

UPDATE (3/8/18 3:15 p.m.): Story has been updated to include further information about upcoming CUSG address of this incident.

Several students have reported finding flyers from an anti-immigrant group around Clemson University’s campus in recent days.

CUSG Senator Madison Gregoris, a senior political science major, found a flyer promoting the “Soldiers of Odin” (SOO) in Hardin Hall on Tuesday.

The SOO was originally founded in Finland as a vigilante group with an anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric, in particular against Muslim refugees, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The group has been accused of being a racist and/or neo-Nazi group, but has denied these allegations in interviews and on its USA chapter’s Facebook page.

Gregoris says that she was not surprised by the flyer and took it down from the bulletin board it was on.

“I walked by the poster, thought to myself: ‘this looks like its something racist or hateful’ and sure enough, it was,” Gregoris said. “Of course it angered me, but it felt like just another day in Clemson.”

Gregoris said she took the poster down “because fascism, hate, racism, all [of] that has absolutely no place on our campus. If someone who was an immigrant saw that flyer, it could make them seriously feel ostracized from the rest of the Clemson community more than they already do.”

According to the ADL, the Soldiers of Odin USA attracts “adherents [from] white supremacists and the anti government extremist ‘Patriot’ movement.”

“Though not all such adherents of the group are white supremacists or bigots, so many of them clearly are that the Soldiers of Odin can easily be considered a hate group,” an ADL report on the SOO states. “But they are also more than that, in that they represent a diverse coalition of right-wing extremists ranging from anti government extremists to white supremacists, coming together for the purpose of expressing hostility towards refugees and Muslims in general.”

The SOO made its way to the United States and gained prominence in 2016 with the chapter name “Soldiers of Odin USA.”

At the time of publication, the Soldiers of Odin USA’s Facebook page states that they “will not bow down and submit to the Islamization of America. We will defend our rights and our way of life.” The page has more than 77,000 likes.

The flyer found in Hardin Hall on Tuesday encourages people to join the local SOO chapter. The local chapter, known as the Soldiers of Odin Midgard South Carolina from their Facebook page, advertises themselves as a nonprofit organization and currently has around 200 likes.

Several other SOO flyers have reportedly been found in Daniel Hall over the past few days.
This is not the only time that such flyers have been found. This past October, a poster promoting the alt-right was found on campus. In the fall of 2016 and the spring of 2017, KKK leaflets were found across campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Clemson University’s response to the earlier incidents have been criticized by faculty members. In November 2017, a petition demanding condemnation against racism and hate circulated following the alt-right flyers.

Gregoris has similar feelings, telling The Tiger that she did not report the SOO flyers to police or the university administration.

“Clemson police have showed [sic] time and time again that there’s really nothing they can do about occurrences like this, and the administration outwardly refuses to acknowledge and then condemn these events. I don’t feel like wasting my time, or my energy,” Gregoris said.

Gregoris further went on to state “I think that Clemson University’s administration should release a statement condemning hate speech and hateful [flyers] and acts of hatred, prejudice and violence on our campus, but I don’t believe that will ever happen.”

Gregoris went on to say that she would address the flyer in her steering report at the CUSG Senate meeting this coming Monday, March 12.

“We [CUSG] could certainly release a statement condemning these fliers. I also think it is the duty [sic] of CUSG to work for a more welcoming, inclusive, safe, healthy, environment for all [sic] of Clemson’s students, regardless of background.”

Clemson University spokesperson John Gouch told The Tiger in an email that CUPD is now aware of the flyers and that “they contacted the building security coordinators in Daniel and Hardin and asked them to take the posters down.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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