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Racist fliers posted at UMass Boston

Messages seen at other schools, too

The UMass Boston campus.Jim Davis/Globe Staff/File

Recruitment fliers for a white supremacist group have recently been posted across the University of Massachusetts Boston campus, university officials said Wednesday.

In a campuswide e-mail Wednesday morning, the university’s provost, Winston E. Langley, said similar fliers were posted at colleges in Massachusetts and seven other states, “targeting immigrants and minority persons — be they students, faculty, staff, or visitors — and causing anxiety and anger.”

Georgianna Melendez, the university’s chief diversity officer, said in an interview that she has received reports of racist fliers on campus periodically throughout the 3½ years she has served in her position.

Recently, though, there has been an uptick in campus community members coming to her office with concerns — though no increase in formal complaints filed, she said.

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“Students have been expressing concern about their presence on campus, and that they feel that it’s intimidating . . . and creates a hostile environment for them,” she said.

Melendez said the fliers had been placed away from surveillance cameras, so it was unclear who posted them, but without any apparent pattern, so they did not seem to target specific groups or individuals. Campus police have been notified, she said.

“Any group who represents anything that’s ethnocentric or racist or homophobic — that is not consistent with the ideals of the university,” she said.

The fliers advertised the group Identity Evropa, which is associated with the white nationalist National Policy Institute, led by Richard Spencer.

Identity Evropa opposes sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, supports President Trump’s plan to build a wall along the US border with Mexico, and believes white Europeans are part of a great cultural heritage under attack by supporters of multiculturalism, according to its website.

A Twitter message posted by the group on Valentine’s Day includes photos of slickly produced posters the group says were placed at UMass Boston. The fliers contain slogans printed across black-and-white photographs of Michelangelo’s David and other idealized marble statues.

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The slogans posted at UMass Boston include “Protect your heritage,” “Serve your people,” and “Let’s become great again,” according to the tweet, which contains the message, “Are you a student @UMassBoston and sick of the #antiwhite agenda? Join us.”

A Feb. 23 tweet shows similar posters at Holyoke Community College.

Separately, in December, the president of Emerson College reported that seven posters advocating another white supremacist group, the American Vanguard, were found on campus.

UMass Boston junior John Le, said Wednesday afternoon that he was shocked to learn of the posters when he read Langley’s e-mail. Le said he had never witnessed racism on campus.

“I’ve never seen it; I haven’t sensed it,” the Medford resident, 26, said on the campus plaza. “I’m sure it’s lingering, because racism has been a part of America ever since we got here.”

Le was willing to give those behind the posters the benefit of the doubt, saying maybe they simply don’t know any better.

“I’m hoping it doesn’t escalate to anything further,” he said. “We don’t want to instill fear in people. We want to love people.”

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.