White supremacist groups are increasingly using propaganda like fliers and posters to spread bigoted messages on college campuses, a new report by the Anti-Defamation League found.
In the past academic year, 292 such incidents were reported — a 77 percent increase from the previous year, according to the report, which was released on Thursday. The stickers, banners and other physical materials included racist and anti-Semitic messages and often targeted Muslims, nonwhite immigrants and other people.
Spreading propaganda across college campuses has become a popular tactic for white supremacist groups in recent years, said Oren Segal, the director of the A.D.L.’s Center on Extremism.
“They’re trying to engage with what they hope are future members of their organizations, followers of their ideology,” he said in an interview. “They have put a premium on winning hearts and minds.”
As part of this strategy, white supremacist groups try to expand their reach by encouraging anyone with internet access to download the materials and spread their messages, he said.
In recent years, members of the far right — including white supremacists and neo-Nazis — have made themselves increasingly visible at events like a rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year that turned deadly when a man drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters. White supremacist groups have also rallied at multiple colleges in the past year in conjunction with speakers like the white nationalist Richard Spencer, events that often intentionally drum up outrage and prompt protests that draw national attention.
Since September 2016, the Anti-Defamation League has recorded 478 instances of white supremacist propaganda at colleges and universities, according to the report. Texas and California were the most frequently targeted states, which the league attributes to more concentrated membership in those states from the most active white supremacist groups.
The anti-immigrant group Identity Evropa was behind nearly half of the 478 reports recorded by the A.D.L. Identity Evropa describes itself as “a fraternal organization for people of European heritage located in the United States that participates in community building and civic engagement,” but the A.D.L. classifies it as a white supremacist group and the Southern Poverty Law Center describes it as a white nationalist group.
Far-right groups have increased their activity since President Trump’s election, and white nationalist leaders have been encouraged by how the president has spoken about their behavior. In a report released earlier this year, the Anti-Defamation League found that anti-Semitic episodes had increased 57 percent in 2017 from the year before.
The new report documented racist fliers covering photos of black historical figures outside the University of South Carolina’s African-American studies program, as well as fliers at multiple schools encouraging students to report undocumented immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Mr. Segal said the Anti-Defamation League provides guidance for universities on how to respond to racist or anti-Semitic propaganda on their campuses, a delicate task that can get complicated when the messaging on the posters is not illegal or even contrary to the school’s code of conduct.