Campus denounces Identity Evropa, organization says posters ‘not extremist’

Rachel Telljohn

Photo illustration of flyers in the air and man standing behind them with face obscured by a flyer.
Photo Illustration by Jack Starkebaum | Collegian

After posters affiliated with Identity Evropa appeared on the Colorado State campus, many on campus quickly denounced it as white supremacist propaganda that targeted specific populations. The affiliated group claims they are not extremist. 

Assistant Professor Josh Sbicca, in the department of sociology, found the posters on the morning of Feb. 26, near the Journalism and Communication department in the Clark C Building. Sbicca notified the dean as well as The Collegian. Sbicca said he had not seen any presence of Identity Evropa prior to the posters going up. 

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“For me, it raises the question of whether or not this is here in Fort Collins, or here on CSU’s campus, or folks from outside the community that are putting up those posters,” Sbicca said. “One of the things that’s been interesting for me is looking at the use of this as a tactic.”

Identity Evropa is identified as a hate group, specifically within the region of Boulder, Colo., by the Southern Poverty Law Center

Alex Scott, a spokesperson for the CSU chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America, said their group was among the first to find the posters on campus. Scott said the group proceeded to tear the posters down and notify administration. 

Scott said YDSA views the posters as propaganda. 

“It’s supposed to be very subtle,” Scott said. “They’re very much an extremist, racist hate group.”

However, Patrick Casey, the executive director of Identity Evropa, said the SPLC has an incentive to label hate groups.

“The left – the SPLC – is pushing so hard,”  Casey said. “It’s starting to wear off.”

Casey described the formation of the group as a non-violent approach to a “culture war,” and that while most people cannot openly identify with the group, recruitment is still a primary goal. Casey wrote in a follow-up email to The Collegian that regional coordinators are responsible for ensuring local universities are flyered.

“Flyering is a really good way (to recruit members),” Casey said. “Our views are becoming more and more socially accepted.”

Casey said part of the goal of Identity Evropa is to say no to immigration and to say no to vilification.

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“We don’t think America needs to be 100 percent white,” Casey said. “There are non-white people who write in to support us.”

Casey said Identity Evropa does not see the posters as extremist. Identity Evropa takes pictures of their posters and posts them to Twitter, prior to the opportunity for them to be taken down. Casey said a large portion of their recruitment is through social media, specifically Twitter. 

Sbicca said his concern is for the larger message the posters send to the campus community. 

“Seeing posters like the Identity Evropa posters and the language used on those posters is clearly supremacist language and/or language that wants to marginalize other groups,” Sbicca said. “There’s this sort of nativist xenophobia that is key to a lot of the rhetoric.”

Sbicca said there are lots of students on campus, like DACA students, who are immigrant students and the language on the posters.

“Posting that kind of propaganda implicitly is a threat to those students,” Sbicca said. “That’s a problem, from my perspective, as someone who wants to create a safe space for every kind of student.”

Sbicca said the reaction from his students, largely, is surprised at the visibility of groups like Identity Evropa, as well as groups the Charlie Kirk event attracted to the CSU campus last month.

Sbicca said he has had conversations with his students about free speech, hate speech and what is protected and what is not. 

For me, it raises the question of whether or not this is here in Fort Collins, or here on CSU’s campus, or folks from outside the community that are putting up those posters,”-Josh Sbicca, Assistant Professor, Sociology

Scott said the posters caused more frustration than anger, on behalf of YDSA. 

“It creates a negative environment on campus,” Scott said. “We just feel that is a shame they are getting put up on our campus, and it is something we should kind of be embarrassed by.”

Casey said Identity Evropa chooses to flyer college campuses because universities are pushing an agenda the group considers “anti-white.” Casey said campuses are where the battle of ideas is being waged, and students are told white people are bad. 

“(Students) are not being exposed to anything else,” Casey said.  

One anonymous source wrote in an email to the Collegian that the group can use media to show its members and similar groups the work done steadily on college campuses around the country. 

“These folks are really smart,” the source wrote. “They likely believe that any attention they receive is a PR win for the organization.” 

The University sent emails to campus regarding the Identity Evropa posters, and the more recent Traditionalist Worker’s Party posters, and described the posters as affiliated with white supremacist groups but not affiliated with CSU’s values. 

Scott said YDSA agrees with the University, that they should just come out and call Identity Evropa, or other groups, for what they are.

“They did call them a white supremacist group,” Scott said. “Calling it for what it is is a good step forward.” 

Similar Identity Evropa posters went up at other universities, including the University of Wyoming, University of Northern Colorado, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, as well as in Boulder and in Denver. 

“It’s not just about, ‘Oh, is this creating an intimidating atmosphere on campus?'” Sbicca said. “Their goals and what they are talking about are way bigger than that.” 

Collegian news editor Rachel Telljohn can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @racheltelljohn