White nationalists recruit MU students

5 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Thursday, August 24 2017 Aug 24, 2017 Thursday, August 24, 2017 7:07:00 PM CDT August 24, 2017 in News
By: Kevin Ko, KOMU 8 News
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COLUMBIA - A white nationalist organization put up fliers around MU's campus in an effort to recruit potential members this week.

MU student Andrew Amidei said he saw flyers "looking for young midwestern patriots" with contact information provided at the bottom for those interested. But he said what he noticed most was the logo in the middle of the flier.

"I was walking to a meeting on campus with a friend of mine, and I just saw the flier on a light pole," Amidei said. "Immediately, I recognized it because of the iconology on the shield. I didn't even think, I just took it down because that was the proper response."

Amidei said he researched the organization online and found out it was a white nationalist group called "Midwestern Alliance." The group's website states it originated in Indiana, but has ties to states throughout the Midwestern region, including in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, and Iowa.

Amidei said he saw another flier on a different day, causing him to take a different approach.

"The next day, I was walking back from class, and I saw another one (flier) on the bus stop," Ameidei said. "So I took that down and took it to the Title IX office on campus."

On the same day that Ameidei said he turned in the flier to MU, the university and its administration addressed the situation in a mass email to faculty, staff, and students.

"One of the core values of the University of Missouri is respect," MU Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright said in the email. "As such, we are committed to fostering a community of inclusion. We are aware that white supremacists are recruiting on college campuses across the U.S."

Christian Basi, the director of the MU News Bureau, said the email and Ameidei's report are unrelated. He said the university was already aware of the flyers before Ameidei turned one of them in.

"We were becoming aware of it as it was being passed around on social media," Basi said.

Basi said the university sent the email to keep its community notified.

"We became aware of two things: one, that these types of recruiting efforts were happening on college campuses across the country," Basi said. "Then we also became aware of the flier that was on our college campus, so we wanted to make sure that everyone on campus was aware of the situation."

Basi also said university policy is all-inclusive and any group can use specified, public spaces on campus to practice free speech.

"It's our understanding that these flyers were posted on publicly available bulletin boards," Basi said. "For that reason, any group can post a flier on those boards. You would have to go and review the policies that we have just instituted related to free speech and use of facilities on our campus."

When asked to comment on this story, a member of the Midwestern Alliance said, "We are at this time no longer taking questions from press."

The organization previously spoke to KBIA and the Columbia Missourian. 

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