Those parked in downtown Sacramento Tuesday morning found leaflets on the windshields of their cars that featured hateful speech against Muslims and Latinos.
The letters were signed in the name of Gregory Withrow, co-founder and president of the Aryan Youth Movement-White Student Union and former American River College student, according to a Sacramento Bee story on Tuesday.
According to the Sacramento Bee story, the leaflet ends with the sentence: “If you have not secured a body dump-site, do so now! Kidnap, rob, torture for information and execute all Muslims and Latinos. Leave no survivors.”
Multiple newspapers in California from 1983 to 2005, including the Sacramento Bee and the LA Times, implicate that Withrow was a student at American River College during the ‘80s and that the group was founded as a club on campus.
Withrow was the chancellor of a campus club called White Students Union (WSU) until it was eliminated from ARC in a decision by the ARC Inter-Club Council (ICC) on Jan. 6, 1981, according to a story from The Beaver, ARC’s student newspaper in the 1980s.
According to the Sacramento Bee story, the Sacramento Police Department said they don’t know if Withrow is behind the distribution or making of the leaflets, but they will “look into the incident with the seriousness it obviously deserves.”
The Current attempted to reach Withrow via Facebook, but, as of press time, there has been no response.
“The fliers contained some hateful speech and appeared to be promoting a white supremacist group,” said Matthew McPhail, the spokesperson for the Sacramento Police Department.
In an interview with Fox 40, McPhail said that the letters do not “necessarily constitute a hate crime” and that “the first amendment does protect the right to free speech, even if that speech is deplorable or despicable.”
History professor Dolores Delgado-Campbell, who has been a full-time ARC professor since 1977 and faculty adviser at Latinos Unidos Club since the beginning of the 80s, said that during that time “he (Withrow) came to a Latinos Unidos meeting, he just sat and when we finished, he left. He didn’t say anything. He was trying to scare us, but I was not scared.”
Delgado-Campbell said that Withrow and his group used to take the posters for the Latinos Unidos club and set them on fire.
“They would take them down and burn them. They told us that we weren’t going to be tolerated,” Dolores-Campbell said.
Dolores-Campbell said that she can’t confirm the specific year Withrow was at ARC or about the supposed restriction order that the story from Sac Bee mentions.
“It was a long time ago, I don’t know if that was by the end of the 80s,” Dolores-Campbell said. “But I’m certainly glad when they (the school) kicked him off campus.”
Dolores-Campbell is surprised by the relationship of the leaflets with Withrow after so many years and said she doesn’t think he would come to campus.
“He has the right to say whatever he wants but not the right of intimidating and harassing,” Dolores- Campbell said.
According to ARC public information officer Scott Crow, there was a person enrolled as “Gregory Withrow” in spring of 1988, but the school cannot confirm that he is the same individual in the Sac Bee story or another person with that same name, and that the events on Tuesday have “no connection at all with the college at this point.”
Crow also said that because of privacy laws among community colleges, there is no possibility of confirming the time Withrow was enrolled at ARC and it is possible that there are not computer records. In the case of disciplinary matters with a student, there is a protection that restricts releasing information.
According to Crow, there are no records to confirm or deny the existence of a restriction order for this individual and that if there are records, they would be in the court records and not at ARC.
Crow said that ARC encourages students to be careful not because of this incident, but in general and that in the case of emergency they can always access the Los Rios Police.