Since Donald Trump’s November 8 election victory, there has been a significant rise in hate-based threats and attacks in the United States, with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) documenting 1,863 such incidents between then and April, at least 330 of which took place on college campuses. In fact, in the 10 days following the election, there was an average of 87 incidents per day!
At the peak of these occurrences immediately following the election, there was a 500 percent spike in bias-based incidents when compared to daily hate crimes reported by the FBI for all of 2015. To be completely honest, these types of incidents have decreased slightly in recent months, but the most troubling part of this whole situation is the increase in the severity of the attacks.
What makes these incidents even more frightening is the sheer amount that occur on college campuses, thanks mostly to an upsurge in white supremacists campaigning and recruiting in American colleges. It is getting so bad that the SPLC has documented more than 135 incidents of white supremacist and nationalist recruitment efforts on US campuses since the commencement of the 2016 academic year.
“It’s a definite uptick, and they’ve been making a concerted effort to flyer and paper as many campuses as they possibly can,” says Lecia Brooks, the SPLC’s outreach director, adding that the campaigning has notably increased since Trump’s Presidential victory. “It shouldn’t be hidden,” Brooks said in reference to incidents documented at schools across the entire country. “The [university] administrations should always issue a strong statement of condemnation clearly stating who they [white supremacist groups] are and what they represent, encouraging students to disregard their recruitment [drives] and disavow their message.”
The result of these recruitment efforts is a huge escalation in hate-based incidents on college campuses, including Tommy Curry, an African-American philosophy professor at Texas A&M University, constantly receiving death threats via email and voice messages, the stabbing death of Richard W Collins, an African-American Bowie State University student, while visiting the University of Maryland and the election of Taylor Dumpson, American University in Washington DC’s first African-American, female student-government president, being met with nooses tied around the campus with bananas labeled “Harambe Bait.” And those are only the tip of the iceberg.
“I think the most threatening part is that we’re beginning to see this rise up again because people feel comfortable and they feel empowered to have these kinds of beliefs, and that’s terrifying,” Dumpson said.
Featured image via Scott Olson/Getty Images