Nonviolent Activism: What to do when hate groups come to campus

Perry Baines addresses how to remain safe yet active when hate groups speak on campus

In today’s volatile political climate the single most important thing students can do is to be informed. Recently, it was announced that a white supremacist by the name of Matthew Heimbbach has been booked to speak on UT’s campus. Heimbach is one of the founders of Traditionalist Workers Party and has been described by the Washington Post as “the next David Duke”.

While the university collaborates with the Knoxville PD to sort out exactly how the group booked an event in the first place, there are a few things that students can do to make themselves safe.

Speak up

If there is one thing that UT students have learned from the recent debacle with The Rock , its that the TWP already has a presence on campus. That means that whenever racist graffiti or propaganda is discovered, it must be made known to the administration as well as to peer. This allows students to know what to look for, and targeted groups are safer for it.

Do NOT confront supporters directly

Studies show that nonviolent protests are not only much safer, but they are also more effective. Hate groups thrive on the violence and chaos that can ensue at these rallies, do not let them. Making things physical will only exacerbate the problem, and when that happens innocents can get hurt. If an argument or debate gets out of hand, the best thing to do is to attempt to deescalate the situation.

Remove propoganda

One of the fastest ways propaganda spreads is through the use of fliers. These are usually posted around areas with a lot of foot traffic like cafeterias or the student union. It takes only a second to remove these, but it can do a lot of good. If they are not posted by a university affilited group, they can be taken down.

Featured Photo: TNJN

Story by Perry Baines

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