December 5, 2016

Militant Neo-Nazi Group Claims Credit for Hanging Hitler Portrait, Swastikas on Campus Building

Update (6:15 p.m.) 

In a campus-wide e-mail, Provost Daniel Diermeier called the posters “disturbing Nazi imagery,” and he said that they contradict the University’s “commitment to fostering a welcoming campus.” Also citing an October incident when the University removed posters that claimed a link between campus divestment activists and terrorism, Diermeier added that the University "will continue to be vigilant against such incidents and address them when they occur, as the law and University policies permit."

A neo-Nazi group claimed credit yesterday for putting up a poster featuring a picture of Adolf Hitler, swastikas, and the slogan “No Degeneracy, No Tolerance, Hail Victory” on the University of Chicago campus.

The poster included an image of Hitler in front of a field of swastikas over the phrase “#Hitler Disapproves.” The name and symbol of the neo-Nazi group The Atomwaffen Division were listed at the bottom of the poster. A Twitter post on Sunday evening by an account under that name read, “University of Chicago got stickercausted tonight by Chicago's local Nazis.” The poster was placed on the glass walls that line the pedestrian pathway through Levi Hall.

A University spokesperson said that the University removed “disturbing material” matching the description of the poster from two locations this morning. The University is investigating the incidents in conjunction with the University of Chicago Police Department, the spokesperson said, and encourages anybody with information about the posters to reach out.

The Atomwaffen Division is a small group of neo-Nazis that has taken responsibility for similar posters at other universities. The group announced its creation on the neo-Nazi forum Iron March. A post on the forum last October claimed that the group had more than 40 members, including some in Chicago.

In those initial posts, the group described itself as a “very fanatical, ideological band of comrades who do both activism and militant training. Hand to hand, arms training, and various other forms of training. As for activism, we spread awareness in the real world through unconventional means.”

The University’s press office did not address requests for comment regarding whether there is a known suspect and whether the perpetrator would face charges.

Thematically similar posters signed by the Atomwaffen Division have appeared at Old Dominion University, Suffolk University, and the University of Central Florida. At Boston University, posters were put up with the slogans “The Nazis are Coming” and “Black Lives Don’t Matter.”

In October, the University of Chicago removed posters around campus that claimed a link between campus divestment activists and terrorism because it determined that they were defamatory. The University’s Student Manual leaves broad leeway for expression that is “unwelcome, disagreeable, or even offensive” and says that “as a general rule…the University [does not] intervene to enforce social standards of civility.” The University’s posting policy does prohibit anonymous posting in most circumstances, as well as posting outside of designated areas.

Pete Grieve contributed reporting.


University Removed Posters Claiming to Link Divestment Activists to "Hamas Terrorists"

By Jamie Ehrlich

The University is investigating.


October 20, 2016