Researchers say white supremacist groups are targeting college campuses 'like never before'

Students walk on the UCLA campus.
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A new report by the Anti-Defamation League found that in 2017, incidents of white supremacists putting up posters, banners, and other messages on college campuses rose 258 percent.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement that white supremacist groups see campuses "as a fertile recruitment ground" and have been targeting colleges "like never before." The ADL compared incidents reported from Sept. 1 to Dec. 30, 2016, and Sept. 1 to Dec. 30, 2017, and found there was a jump from 41 incidents in 2016 to 147 in 2017. Texas had the most incidents: 61.

These white supremacist groups want a reaction and "troll campuses," Oren Segal, director of the ADL's Center on Extremism, told BuzzFeed News. They also hope that by focusing "on the 'threat' of multiculturalism, diversity, and liberalism ... some students who feel that that atmosphere on campus is too much for them will view white supremacist groups as an alternative."

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Most of the messages talked of "protecting" and "saving" white people, and at schools like Middle Tennessee State University, they have been found pasted on top of posters advertising Black History Month events. "While campuses must respect and protect free speech, administrators must also address the need to counter hate groups' messages and show these bigoted beliefs belong in the darkest shadows, not in our bright halls of learning," Greenblatt said.

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