While members of African-American, Latino and Asian student unions don't hide who they are and are happy to engage the public, most members of these alleged "white student unions" are hiding their identities.
|This "white student union" poster is in the style of typical neo-Nazi art.|
Dozens of ‘White Student Unions’ Have Mysteriously Materialized on Social Media in the Last Week
Groups claim to speak for students at Stanford, New York University, University of Missouri and elsewhere, but their origins are uncertain.
By Jamiles Lartey
At least 30 social media profiles of so-called “white student unions” have been set up in the last week, in response to nationwide student protests demanding action to address campus racism.
forced the ouster of president Tim Wolfe and inspired activism on campuses elsewhere.
It appears that the first of these WSUs was the “Illini White Student Union”, created at the University of Illinois just hours after students gathered for a black solidarity event on campus last Wednesday. Its page has since been taken down by Facebook at the request of campus administrators.
“The Illinois student union that came on last week made us jump at the chance of creating an online presence,” according to someone claiming to be a spokesman for the WSU at UT Austin, who would not give his real name. “We kind of kicked ourselves for not doing it beforehand.”
UT Austin’s WSU describes itself on its page as a “group to promote the ethnic interests of white students and to protect us from BLM [Black Lives Matter] terrorism”. The spokesman said the group started as a collection of like-minded friends who began meeting to discuss topics like pride in white heritage and a sense that, in college classes, students are “drowning in an anti-white narrative”.
Given the rapid speed with which they have emerged, some have questioned whether the groups are really created by students. In a Medium post by the author “Bears for Equity”, it was noted late Sunday that well known white-supremacist and Neo-Nazi blogger Andrew Anglin called for his followers to “[m]ake more of these White Student Union pages on Facebook for various universities. You don’t have to go there. Make one for Dartmouth, Princeton, etc.”
The spokesman for the UT Austin WSU denied any connection to Anglin, and said that Anglin’s call for more group pages “really makes me cringe” and “cheapens what we are doing”. He also noted that the first post on his group’s page was made Friday, one day before Anglin’s post.
Other groups contacted by the Guardian also denied any connection to Anglin. A representative for the University of North Carolina WSU told the Guardian that “we denounce Anglin’s call for ‘dummy’ WSUs” and said they do not want to be associated with Anglin’s blog “The Stormer”. Similarly, a representative for the UCLA WSU said that Anglin’s “views and website are not at all representative of what we believe”. The WSU at UC Berkeley also denied any affiliation.
None of the representatives contacted were willing to identify themselves, citing security concerns. All of them also refused requests to confirm their student status by sending a message from an official school email.
Some of the recent pages seem more likely than others to be fake. A recent graduate of NYU, who didn’t want to give his name out of fear of online reprisals, said that when he started engaging with posters on the NYU WSU page, he noticed many had online ties to the white supremacist website Stormfront, and were far from New York City, in places like Atlanta and Portland, Maine. “I think that it probably did originate on Stormfront,” he said, “and got picked up by people on 4chan who just get amusement out of riling up ‘social justice warriors’, as they call them.”