White Student Union’s plan to patrol the Baltimore area’s Towson University in response to 'black crime wave' sparks controversy
The alleged hate group’s efforts against ‘black predators’ come as violent crime at the Maryland campus has plunged. Group founder Matthew Heimbach says the patrols are being disparaged because of anti-white discrimination.
Matthew Heimbach, the founder and president of the White Student Union, said the purpose of the patrols is "not for glory or controversy, it is to help our fellow students."
A white pride student organization at Towson University has sparked controversy and gained national attention after it declared that members would begin night patrols to combat the “black crime wave” on campus.
“For those who are not Towson students it seems hard to fathom that every single day black predators prey upon the majority white Towson University student body,” Matthew Heimbach, the president and founder of the White Student Union, wrote in a blog post on Feb. 28.
But school officials said that Towson, which is near Baltimore, has one of the safest campuses in the University System of Maryland. It has the lowest crime statistics among the USM campuses, and the total number of violent crimes in 2012 was down 37.5% despite a 2.3% increase in enrollment.
On Wednesday, in a message to the campus community, Deb Moriarty, the vice president for student affairs, and Police Chief Bernie Gerst discouraged students from taking crime fighting into their own hands. They said they would strive to protect the rights of all students.
“We will continue to work vigorously with students who feel threatened by the proposed activities of this group to ensure their safety and to help them find their voice to take back their power from those they feel are denigrating them,” Moriarty and Gerst wrote in the message.
The White Student Union group is not recognized as a student group by the university. It has, however, been added to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map” and is classified as a “white nationalist” organization. According to the SPLC website, “white nationalist groups espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies, often focusing on the alleged inferiority of non-whites.” Mark Potok, a SPLC spokesman, told Towson’s independent student newspaper “The Towerlight” that Heimbach’s language and rhetoric as president of the group point to this way of thinking.
“We base off of ideology,” Potok said. “It has nothing to do with criminality or potential for violence.”
Potok pointed out that the WSU blog links to pro-white websites like the Council of Conservative Citizens that do directly promote racial segregation.
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