Vermont Business Magazine An investigation by the Burlington Police Department and the FBI has determined that the racist posters recently distributed on the local college campuses, particularly at the University of Vermont, were not undertaken by local college students, but were the work of provocateurs and "that these individuals intended to cause strife, disruption and mistrust on local college campuses by expressing hostile and troubling messages in their public places. There is also evidence that these individuals have participated in extremist group activities in other communities." Police added that the actions did not rise to the level of criminal activity.
Below is a statement from UVM President Tom Sullivan and below that is the report from the Burlington Police Department.
Feb. 23, 2018
To the University community:
In response to the information just released by the Burlington Police Department (see below), UVM President Tom Sullivan said, “As we have stated previously, The University of Vermont and other college campuses in the state and around the country have seen recently a proliferation of racist messaging. We wish to thank the local police and federal authorities for their diligent work in identifying the individuals responsible for the messages appearing recently on our campus. I wholeheartedly endorse and support the statements made by our city leaders referenced here, and their condemnation of activities intended to cause fear and division in our community.”
From the Burlington Police Department:
RESULTS OF INVESTIGATION OF WHITE SUPREMACIST POSTERS ON THE UVM CAMPUS
Last week, posters bearing white supremacist messaging were discovered in public places on the campuses of
the University of Vermont and Champlain College. While the posters themselves did not appear to rise to the
level of criminal activity, a multi-jurisdictional investigation sought to identify the individuals responsible in
order to determine if they were part of an extremist group with a potential for violence.
Special Agents of the Federal Bureau Investigation, in collaboration with local law enforcement partners, have
been actively investigating the incident using several credible leads. They have been able to conclusively
determine that several of the people identified in the group that placed the posters reside out of state, with no
affiliations to the Burlington community, academic or otherwise. Another is known to investigators as a
Vermonter who lives elsewhere in the state.
Although some persons involved remain unidentified, there is no evidence to suggest UVM or Champlain
students were a part of the group, or facilitated its work. It does appear, however, that these individuals
intended to cause strife, disruption and mistrust on local college campuses by expressing hostile and troubling
messages in their public places. There is also evidence that these individuals have participated in extremist
group activities in other communities.
The investigation continues. No evidence recovered suggests intentions of violence. Regardless, since violence
can go hand in hand with racial extremism, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local partners will continue
to monitor the group’s actions.
MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT AND POLICE CHIEF CONDEMN POSTERS
Mayor Miro Weinberger, City Council President Jane Knodell, and Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo
released the following statements in response to the poster investigation’s findings:
“The City of Burlington condemns both the racist sentiment articulated in the posters and the effort by outside
extremists to incite discord in this community,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Burlington is a welcoming City
that celebrates and draws strength from its diversity, and we cannot allow these instigators to divide us. We will
continue to monitor these individuals and take further action as warranted. At the same time, our community
must acknowledge and continue the urgent work of rooting racism and implicit bias out of all of our
“The City Council joins Mayor Weinberger and Chief del Pozo in committing to the safety of all residents of
Burlington from race-based and other forms of harassment in our community,” said City Council President Jane
Knodell. “We all believe we are a better and stronger community because of our diversity.”
"Since first learning of these acts, the Burlington Police Department has been working with federal law
enforcement to conduct an investigation and ensure the safety of our community members,” said Burlington
Police Chief Brandon del Pozo. “We will continue to diligently monitor the situation and encourage community
members to keep in mind the intent of an outside party to exacerbate tensions in our City. The issues of race
and justice are real ones in Vermont, but we have to be vigilant about letting outside forces use them to create
crises and to turn us against each other."
Sources: UVM. BPD. 2.23.2018