Southern Methodist University police are looking for members of a white supremacist group who posted racist and homophobic banners and fliers on campus over the weekend. The group has been taunting police.
Campus police say the investigation has led them to five persons of interest seen on surveillance images from Park Cities Plaza, the strip shopping center along Mockingbird Lane near Central Expressway
Police say an outside group that calls itself Texas Vanguard claimed responsibility for the white nationalist fliers and banners posted outside SMU buildings. The group put its own images on Twitter of masked members performing Nazi salutes in front of the campus Christmas tree and a sign that says "white men, save your people. Reject the opioid beast." The fliers also read, “no more tolerance, no more diversity” and “protect white lives.”
The Surveillance video shows five people getting out of a dark-colored full-sized pickup truck about 11:20 p.m. Saturday. Two people were later seen on camera carrying a banner about 12:20 a.m. Sunday.
The man who says he organized the movement on behalf of Texas Vanguard spoke to FOX 4 over the phone only but would not give his name.
"We want a white America,” he said. “We want a fascist, white America."
It's not the first time SMU students have been subjected to hate speech fliers. About a year ago, fliers were posted on campus saying white women shouldn't date black men.
While the group’s messages are offensive, they're protected by free speech and not illegal. But a university spokesperson says those involved could be charged with criminal trespassing.
The Texas Vanguard leader would not say whether any of the persons of interest are affiliated with the university.
"Why have they not come forward? I would assume because they don't want to be charged with crimes,” the man said. “Do we hate other races? I wouldn't say so. I'd say we hate living with other races. We hate having our culture ripped down and made a mockery of."
The organizer says Texas Vanguard is fascist, so they do support police.
SMU President R. Gerald Turner condemned the fliers and banners in an e-mail that threatened punishment for anyone affiliated with the school.
"The outside group featured on these signs promotes an abhorrent message that is opposite to SMU values. Our University community is deeply committed to maintaining an educational environment that is welcoming and inclusive. As an institution dedicated to learning, we value respectful and civil discourse," Turner said.
Students say they understand freedom of speech, but hate speech is unacceptable.
"I hate to see SMU associated with that because there a lot of new sort of perspectives,” said SMU student Adam Lewis. “I don't think it gives the general mindset a lot of people have."
"It's demeaning to see people still think they can act like that,” said SMU student Seher Iqbal.
Other universities have been targeted by the same group as well. For some students, the messages add to a growing sense of insecurity.
"My parents don't feel comfortable with me going certain places,” Iqbal said. “Obviously, I'm not white. They think I'm in danger because of that."
The national Vanguard America group is tweeting SMU Police and taunting them. They tweeted, “I know who they all are. If you give me $100,000 cash, I would be glad to give you such information."
When asked why no one with the group will reveal their identity, the organizer said they'd all be deemed the worst kind of monsters.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-3333.