American University Police have released a trio of surveillance videos which show two men suspected of planting anti-immigrant flyers on campus.
The videos show images recorded just after 10 p.m. Sunday, when the men entered AU property near Kerwin Hall, then shows their departure minutes later.
One suspect is described as having a small build and wearing a plaid or flannel coat or shirt, jeans, a dark-colored cap, with a dark-colored cloth covering his face.
The other man has a large build, wearing a green or tan coat, jeans, and a dark-colored cap.
“It’s cowardly,” says Freshman Abigail Bowers, who spotted one of the flyers the next day, and posted an image of it on social media. “We’re allowing this kind of hate to be acceptable in our country. We need to tell everyone that this is not okay.”
The flyers read, “No means no,” over a map of the US, and have a hashtag message below, #MyBordersMyChoice.
The flyers also contain the name and website of a known white supremacist group.
AU sent out email alerts to students, saying the flyers contain “anti-immigration messages attributed to a neo-Nazi organization.”
“This is a nation-wide campaign, it's not just about AU,” declares Doron Ezickson, the director of the regional office of the Anti-Defamation League, based in the District. “It’s about every institute of higher learning where these folks think they can disrupt.”
Administrators say they also don’t think the posters are specifically targeted at the university.
But they believe the placement of the flyers was no accident, following marches in DC about the DACA debate, and the Women’s March this past weekend.
“Seeing that, I’m not shocked at the political atmosphere that we have,” Bowers says. “There are people who see AU as this easy target, because it’s seen as a liberal school.”
Investigators believe the two men posted at least eight flyers, four of which were left in a quad area, with four others in a residence hall.
An on-line search reveals one website which has “game plan” instructions for printing and distributing the posters, and even has PDFs and images for them.
Users of the site get “bonus points” for planting the posters in “feminist-related areas,” at colleges and universities in the US, Canada, the UK, and elsewhere.
“The activity has been a full range of racist, misogynistic, white supremacist activity in a growing number of campuses across the country,” Ezickson declares.
He says the ADL has counted 338 incidents of white supremacist propaganda on American colleges and universities since September of 2016.
The league has tracked 155 incidents this school year alone, triple the number of last year.
“Part of their goal is to disrupt campus life, to intimidate people on campus,” Ezickson says. “They have started also to recruit.”
The third video shows the two men leaving by the Fletcher Gate, just seven minutes after they arrived.
Other people can be seen walking nearby, and police are hoping someone might recognize the suspects.
On Tuesday, AU President Sylvia Burwell released a statement, which says in part:
“These flyers likely represented part of an international, hateful movement attempting to intimidate immigrant communities throughout the world. Let me be very clear: we reject hate, bigotry, intimidation in all its forms.”
In May 2017, AU authorities investigated the discovery of bananas, hung by strings tied with what appeared to be nooses.
That case remains unsolved, on a campus known for diversity and inclusion.
Students and others say they hope whoever was involved in this latest incident is caught.
“The best countering of this is actually to engage in positive conversation about why our diversity is our strength,” Ezickson says.
“It's clear they have a message and want to get it out,” AU student Lex Clary says. “But they're going to have to try harder if they're going to sway this campus in a negative way.”
American University police have released a video Tuesday of two people wanted for posting anti-immigration posters discovered at various locations on the campus.
The posters say "No Means No" on top with a hashtag message that reads "My Country, My Choice." Police say four of the posters were found in an open area of the school, and the other four at a residence hall.
University officials sent out an email to students stating that the flyers contain anti-immigration messages attributed to a Neo-Nazi organization. However, administrators tell Circa's affiliate ABC7 News they don't believe the posters were specifically targeted for the school.
Police released three videos which show two people walking around the campus.
A description of the individuals was released by police. One person has a small build and was wearing a plaid, flannel-style coat/shirt with jeans, and a dark-colored cap with a dark-colored cloth covering the face.
The other person has a large build and was wearing a green/tan coat with jeans and a dark colored cap.