The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) now boasts of student-led chapters at more than 100 colleges and universities across the United States.
The SPLC on Campus program, founded in 2011, encourages students to start clubs to advance the SPLC’s agenda by fighting “hate and extremists groups” and promoting an “atmosphere of acceptance and respect” within their campus community.
Chapters are encouraged to promote the SPLC’s guidebooks, such as the “Alt-right on Campus: What Students Need to Know,” and host events to fight “bias and bigotry” on campus.
All chapters are also required to agree to a set of terms and conditions to “further the SPLC’s goals by raising awareness of the growth and activities of hate and extremists groups.”
But while the SPLC claims to fight hate groups, its Hatewatch blog only “monitors and exposes the activities of the American radical right,” neglecting far-left groups with a history of violence such as Antifa, #Resist, and By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).
Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) is one school with an active SPLC chapter. Founded in 2014 by a group of graduate students in criminal justice, the chapter has remained active since its founding, EKU professor Gary Potter told Campus Reform.
Potter, who is also a professor in the School of Justice Studies at EKU, noted that group has hosted numerous events in the past few years, including annual screenings of The Hunting Ground, an anti-sexual assault documentary, and presenting an SPLC-produced film on the Voting Rights Act.
Potter said students would like to do more with the group, but noted that his school is a “suitcase university,” meaning most students are commuters who leave campus during the weekends.
The SPLC tells potential recruits that they can create “real change” by signing up.
“As a student activist, you are well-positioned to create real change on campus and in your local community,” the program’s website notes. “You’re surrounded by other students who believe in the ideals of justice and equality just like you. They’re also willing to take action.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen
First published at Campus Reform
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