- Students express outrage at discovery of images depicting British fascist Oswald Mosley
- Union condemns ‘hate incident’ after stickers found in Falmer House, Fulton and Jubilee
- University reaffirms commitment to equality and diversity as well as freedom of speech
A number of fascist-themed stickers have been found in buildings across the campus of Sussex University.
Stickers have been found in Jubilee and Fulton buildings, as well as in the Students’ Union at Falmer House, near the Islamic prayer room and disabled toilets.
The various images depict British fascist Oswald Mosley, symbols of the British Union of Fascists, a far-right political party in the 1930s, and provocative statements including “Right Wing Death Squad” and “Britain Awake”.
The action has been condemned by the Students’ Union, referring to it as a “hate incident on campus”, whilst pointing out the incident came just after Holocaust Memorial Day was marked around the world.
Fi Halfacre, Students with Disabilities Officer, said: “It was disappointing to see these stickers and to have them placed outside of the prayer rooms and the disabled toilets. Sussex is supposed to be a community that empowers and to have people attempting to create a climate of fear on campus is not acceptable”.
The incident has been reported to Sussex Police.
Students at Sussex and the wider community have expressed outrage and denounced the stickers.
Brighton Antifascists, a group that combats nationalist and fascist activity, said: “We would urge any student or staff member who sees one of these stickers to remove it and, if possible, replace it with an anti-fascist one.
“In the long term, we think it would be great if this spurred the formation of a campus-based anti-fascist group who dedicated their time to keeping campus clear of this sort of propaganda”.
Duncan Michie, a second year Chemistry student, said: “I think it seems to be some 4Chan user who thinks they are some edgy genius or they have National Action tendencies.
“Everyone should be on the lookout in case they spot this bastard and either take a photo of the perpetrator and hand it over to the Students’ Union or pin them down and call the police. Fascism is no laughing matter”.
A Badger investigation uncovered a forum on notorious website 4Chan, where members of the fascist ‘alt-right’ movement have shared similar images combining far-right imagery with the retro styling known as ‘Aesthetics’.
Known as ‘Fashthetic’ or ‘Fashwave’, it has become increasingly prominent among far-right groups since the election of Donald Trump as US President in November. 4Chan has been linked to other internet subcultures and activism, including Anonymous and Project Chanology, which protested against the practices of the Church of Scientology.
A spokesperson for the University of Sussex said: “As a truly international institution, we encourage all members and visitors to our campus and community to express opinions, freely, within the law, and to enjoy open access to information.
“However, we must balance this commitment to freedom of speech with our commitment to equality and diversity, which is central to the ethos of our community”.
They added: “We will act appropriately in any circumstances where there is evidence that a group or individual is likely to incite violence or cause a breach of the peace, or is likely to transgress the bounds of lawful free speech or assembly.
“We will continue to do all that we can to ensure that all students and staff on campus are treated equally with respect and dignity”.
In December, far-right group National Action was labelled as a terrorist organisation by the Government. In an address to Parliament, Home Secretary Amber Rudd defended the decision and said: “National Action is a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology”.