Why are there neo-Nazis at Iowa State?


Hannah Olson / Iowa State Daily

White nationalist poster found outside of Jishke Honors Building September 17.

K. Rambo

“I hear people say that ‘racism isn’t real’ but then something like this happens and it shows that it’s real and people still don’t care,” said Courtney Scholten, Iowa State student, earlier this year.

For those following news at Iowa State, this statement could have been published in September, when a rash of white nationalist and white supremacist propaganda was found around Ames and Iowa State.

It was published on Oct. 27, 2016, when propaganda from a white supremacist website known as “The Right Stuff” was found on campus at Iowa State.

This problem is hardly unique to Iowa State and Jeremy Best, associate professor in history, will be addressing this in a lecture at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night in the Sun Room.

Best is giving a lecture titled, “Why Is There a Neo–Nazi on My Campus? A German Historian Explains.”

The lecture will focus on “the ideology of these organizations, their connection to the Nazis and other 20th-century fascist organizations, and why their white nationalism seems to have had a resurgence in our own times,” according to the description from the lectures program website.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 241 college campuses have found fliers by white nationalist and supremacist groups since March 2016, with 329 overall incidents.

“The Right Stuff” has ties to and promotes the “Daily Stormer,” a neo-Nazi website that was frequented by Dylan Roof, the terrorist who killed nine churchgoers in a racially motivated attack on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015.

“A Right to Exist,” which began posting propaganda around the Iowa State campus in September 2017, is a white nationalist group that seeks specifically to recruit Iowa State students.

Best’s knowledge of far-right white supremacist groups extends beyond his academic studies.

A campaign sign in Best’s yard was targeted by propaganda in early September, an act that spurred more of this propaganda being posted. An act that reminded those that may have forgotten about the signs being posted last year, that far-right groups are organizing in Ames.