Campus shrugs off neo-Nazi propaganda

Pro-Nazi fliers floating around campus are not discouraging students from promoting a message of peace and unity.

Fliers promoting the National Socialist Movement were placed on windshields of cars surrounding Warriner Hall after reformed neo-Nazi T.J. Leyden’s speech Monday night.

The fliers stated, “This is a free Nazi zone,” and a pamphlet depicting crimes committed by minorities against whites also was placed on cars. The pamphlet indicated many of the crimes were not considered hate crimes and should have been, while the flier had the international “no” symbol superimposed over a flag of Israel.

Some students were aware of fliers, but do not think this form of publicity will work on CMU’s campus.

“I prefer them (NSM members) not to attend the event, which they didn’t,” said Grand Rapids senior Richard Schild. “Using it (fliers) as a form of publicity is counter-intuitive.”

Schild, president of College Democrats, said NSM’s canvassing of cars is not only illegal, but unsuccessful.

“They are not successful in getting any more attention,” he said.

Colon senior Sean Novak, who attended the speech, said Leyden’s racially-based jokes at the beginning of his speech made people laugh, but contributed in sending the wrong message to students.

“It was shocking to me and I’m skeptical why he was telling those jokes,” he said. “Little things like that perpetuate hate.”

Novak said passing the pamphlets out after the speech was a way to draw attention to race relations.

“They were trying to say hate crimes are done on white people too,” he said. “They (NSM) are not here, but there are sympathizers around.”

Novak said people from NSM have contacted him via e-mail, harassing him about his views of the group and saying he was a victim of communist propaganda.

“Apparently, I’m a communist,” he said. “Because I’m vocal I feel my personal safety is an issue, but it doesn’t scare me.”

Jerry Lawler, facilities manager at the Capitol Building in Lansing, also confirmed the NSM has scheduled a White Power Rally at the Capitol Building on April 22, 2006. The last similar rally cost $200,000 in extra police enforcement.

Jerell Erves, Detroit sophomore and president of Black Formalists Advocating Minorities, said he was not aware of the fliers.

Erves said he is confident students will be able to discern what is right for them and his worries do not focus solely on NSM, but students feeling comfortable with their surroundings.

“Right now the main focus is worrying about being comfortable in our academic environment,” Erves said.

Novak said race relations on CMU’s campus is an issue. He described an incident that occurred last week regarding a few black students who walked out of the library and were called offensive names by someone driving a car.

“It happens to a lot of people in town,” Novak said.

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