Vandalism and stickers promoting the Patriot Front, a known white nationalist hate group, were found Saturday on both the campus of Northern Kentucky University and Xavier University.
Xavier University, which also discovered messaging from the Patriot Front and vandalism on campus in January, released a statement that a sign outside Bellarmine Chapel reading "Racism is a Sin -- Black Lives Matter" was vandalized for the second time this year. Xavier said the sign has already been replaced and the university denounced the "racist propaganda stickers" and vandalism in the released statement.
According to the Northerner, NKU's student media organization, a large rock outside of Norse Commons that was previously painted with different faces of Black students was spray painted with white X's over the faces.
"It's very upsetting because it feels like I don't matter," said Jalein James, a freshman at Northern Kentucky University. "It feels like I don't matter."
A logo for the Patriot Front was also spray painted on the rock.
The Southern Poverty Law Center defines the Patriot Front as a white nationalist hate group that broke off from Vanguard America in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, of August 12, 2017. Stickers from the Patriot Front were found around both the Xavier and NKU campuses.
NKU president Dr. Ashish Vaidya released a statement denouncing the acts Saturday and said security on campus will be increased at night.
Statement from President Vaidya: pic.twitter.com/HLqhEig7vf— Northern Kentucky University (@nkuedu) April 3, 2021
Jeffrey Huston, a freshman student at NKU, said the stickers were placed throughout campus, specifically in high traffic areas.
"I think people need to understand white supremacist means they hate African Americans," said Huston. "They will do anything. These people kill African Americans. NKU has a very large community of African Americans. That is a very big deal."
Maintenance crews covered the defaced rock at NKU Saturday morning with white paint to cover the damage. For students, a coat of paint isn't enough to make them forget the sentiment behind the vandalism.
"Those people that say 'it's just words,' people who say that aren't looking at the big picture," said Huston.
NKU said it plans to deploy more campus police overnight for patrols, but Huston said he doesn't feel that's enough.
"I think a really big thing is they need to understand that their statements aren't doing anything," he said.
Huston isn't the only student who feels the university could do more about the incidents: A Change.org petition was created Saturday that calls on the university to launch an investigation into the presence of white supremacy on campus.
"It needs to stop," said James. "It just needs to stop."