State Politics

‘Boone doesn’t want to be the next Charlottesville’: Supremacists hang banner at App State

A white supremacy group hung a banner at Appalachian State University this week.

Identity Evropa members hung the banner, which read “A new dawn is breaking, rise and get active, Identity Evropa,” on Monday evening on a pedestrian crossing over a campus street.

Identity Evropa is a white supremacist group with members across the United States. Established in 2016, the group is identified as a racist white supremacist organization by the Anti-Defamation League and is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group particularly targets college campuses.

The group claimed the banner on social media. In a tweet on Tuesday, the group said, “Identity Evropa activists dropped a banner at Appalachian State University.”

The Watauga County branch of the NAACP responded to the banner, claiming that it was being used as a recruitment tool on college campuses throughout the country.

“Although it was removed within 10 minutes of being placed, many students saw it and posted it to social media along with angry and fearful comments,” Watauga NAACP president Todd Carter wrote in a news release Thursday.

Campus police investigated but told the student body president that the banner did not pose a direct threat, according to the release.

“Make no mistake, this was an act of hate,” Carter wrote. “The banner was intended to intimidate and incite fear among the African American, Jewish, LGBTQ, minority and immigrant student populations at the beginning of the school year.”

Appalachian State chancellor Sheri Noren Everts said in a statement Wednesday that “violence, discrimination and racism” wouldn’t be tolerated on campus, but Carter said he wanted Everts to send a stronger message.

“Call it what it is – hate speech,” Carter wrote. “Those speaking it are white supremacists belonging to neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups. Semantics are crucial here. Boldly state that Appalachian State denounces white supremacy and intimidation through hate speech.

“One statement belongs in a policy manual. The other statement tells Nazi hate groups that they are not welcome here. Which statement will make students feel like the university has their back? ... Boone does not want to be the next Charlottesville.”