By Owen Denker | October 31, 2022
The University Police Department (UPD) is investigating a report in which numerous anti-Semitic stickers from a neo-Nazi organization were placed around two locations on the University at Albany uptown campus, including Dutch and Colonial Quad.
According to University Police Chief Paul Burlingame, the UPD, with aid from the Albany County Crime Analysis Center and the New York State Police, has identified the subject as 23-year-old Alexander Wolcott. Wolcott has been booked on charges of aggravated harassment relating to the incident, a Class E felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
The stickers were removed Tuesday evening by University Police, Residential Life staff, and Facilities Management. The individual is associated with a far-right group that has gone unnamed by the UPD, but is believed to belong to the Folkish Resistance Movement.
The organization promotes the slogan “Hitler was right” among other sentiments. The Times Union reported that the individual, whom the news outlet did not identify, called a local television news station posing as a student who stumbled upon the stickers in an apparent attempt to draw attention to the matter. The Times Union did not specify which station. Images of these stickers were released by Albany News 10. Contact information for the organization was censored in the images.
One sticker read “Resist Zionism” and featured an image of a sword penetrating the Star of David. Another variation without imagery read “Our blood is our faith / Our nation is our race,” a phrase that, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), supports the idea that all white people are members of a single nation. Yet another variation read “Blood and soil,” an English translation of the German “Blut und boden,” a common anti-Jewish phrase originating in Nazi Germany, and featured an image of a sonnenrad, also known as a sunwheel or black sun, that according to the ADL, was commonly used in Nazi Germany and has now been adopted by white supremacist groups.
A Residential Assistant on Colonial Quad who preferred to remain anonymous witnessed one of the stickers, reporting it to feature a large Swastika with the words “United in blood.”
While Chief Burlingame declined to name other schools at which the group has committed similar incidents, the group is allegedly responsible for an incident that was reported at Arizona State University in 2020.
The University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion sent an email to the student body on Wednesday, Oct. 26, informing them about the incident. The email stated, in part, “we must honor our diversity to provide our students the best possible learning and living environment, and this commitment is buttressed by the wealth of resources that are available to support you.”
However, most UAlbany students remained unaware of the incident.
“[The stickers are] a genuinely vile thing to be putting up anywhere,” UAlbany student Cole McConnell said. “Let alone someplace that’s supposed to be about bringing people together, especially in learning.”
“It’s horrific that the climate on campus would even allow for that,” UAlbany sophomore Taylor Paton said. “The offender should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“I did not think that would happen at our university, given how diverse we are,” UAlbany student Gabriella Fontana said. She also felt the group deserved repercussions and viewed it as a “hate crime.”
Rabbi Mendel and Raizy Rubin of Shabbos House, an orthodox Jewish religious organization serving UAlbany, praised the university’s response to the vandalism in an email newsletter.
“UPD and UAlbany admins kept us in the loop, about the hateful antisemitic stickers posted around campus by a non-student who has done the same on other campuses,” Shabbos House’s newsletter statement reads. “We’re grateful that the UPD is taking it seriously.”