With an arrest and more signs, University of Minnesota's Nazi problem grows


Matthew Gruber was arrested for drawing a swastika, right around time more of them started showing up on Minneosta's campus. Hennepin County/Facebook

 Something's messed up at the University of Minnesota.

That's the only conclusion to draw about a liberal arts campus in a big city when the sentence "They caught that Nazi guy" could reasonably be responded to with the question: "Which one?"

Other questions that come to mind: Where are we? What year is it?

Matthew Gruber, an 18-year-old University undergad from St. Cloud, was arrested Thursday under suspicion he'd drawn a swastika in a public area of his residence dorm, the Star Tribune reports. Gruber's racist vandalism was reported to police on February 7; he was released from custody pending a property crime charge. 

Under Minnesota's criminal "damage to property" code, even a minor offense can be kicked up to a felony if it was motivated by the victim's "actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability... age, or national origin." Should the charges reach that condition, Gruber could be looking at a maximum penalty of a year and a day in prison and/or a $3,000 fine.

To be clear: Gruber was not arrested in connection with the other very recent incident of Nazi graffiti in a college dorm, when freshman student Avi Shaver came home one night to find a Holocaust scene drawn on the marker board inside his shared room. Whoever commited that more targeted crime is likely still at large. 

As is whichever Nazi prick went around hanging signs in highly visible campus spaces this past week. In a Facebook post on Friday, Idan Cohen, a fellow at the U of M's Hillel campus organization, publicized the signs, which function as advertisements for the white supremacist website Daily Stormer. Cohen calls these signs the ninth Nazi or anti-Semitic incident on the Twin Cities campus since December. 

"WHITE MAN," the sign reads, "are you sick and tired of THE JEWS destroying your country through mass immigration and degeneracy. Join us in the struggle for global white supremacy." 

The sheets were spotted in three locations on or near Washington Avenue: One dangled from a street sign, another was stapled to a utility pole, and a third was clipped right in the middle of a board filled with other fliers and posters -- you know, the kind you usually see on a college campus.

"Stay strong," Cohen wrote on Facebook. "Be proud of who you are. Don't let this hate win. We have seen it before, speak up because no one else will." 

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