Seven white nationalist propaganda posters were found on campus Monday, according to an email to the Emerson community sent by President M. Lee Pelton the next day.
The posters advertised the so-called far-right group American Vanguard, which explicitly calls for the reclamation of a white America on their website. Its logo, pictured on the posters, depicts a bird carrying a fasces, or a bundle of rods tied around an axe, from which the term “fascist” is derived.
In an interview, Pelton said he didn’t know if the posters were put up by a member of the Emerson community.
“If it was somebody off campus,” he said, “then I have a whole series of questions about how that person or persons gained entry into our college and was allowed to place these posters.”
Pelton said the Emerson College Police Department is investigating the incident.
Six of the posters were found in the Walker Building and at least one was in a residence hall, Pelton added.
James Hoppe, vice president and dean for campus life, wrote in an email to the Beacon that the bias report filed about a poster in a residence hall did not specify which residence hall.
Scarlett Shiloh, a sophomore visual and media arts student, said they found two of the posters in the Walker Building on Monday and immediately reported them to ECPD.
“I was originally in disbelief,” Shiloh, who is Jewish, said. “I was angry that people had the gall to do it, had the gall to make marginalized students on this campus feel unsafe.”
Robert Amelio, director of diversity and inclusive excellence, said there had been racist graffiti on campus before, but nothing from American Vanguard, to his knowledge.
“We try to think of Emerson, sort of like the state of Massachusetts, as being this bubble, but we know that’s a myth,” he said. “My fear is that the current election result is going to cause much more of this across the country.”
Amelio said it is important for white community members to condemn racism more vocally.
Pelton said the posters angered him because he saw them less as propaganda and more as an attempt to scare the community.
“You’re not gonna intimidate me,” Pelton said. “You’re not gonna intimidate this campus ... We’re gonna be resistant and we’re going to stand up for the core values of this institution.”