White nationalist group continues recruiting on campus; Dropik ‘still affiliated’
The Madison chapter of the American Freedom Party, a white nationalist group that was met with student protests in January, is still organizing on UW-Madison’s campus.Image By: Catherine Goslin
Roughly three weeks after UW-Madison student Daniel Dropik took a leave of absence from the university, the American Freedom Party, a white nationalist group, has continued to actively recruit in Madison.
About a week after Dropik, the leader of Madison’s chapter of the party, said he was abandoning the organization, a post appeared on AFP’s website stating the group is still “organizing” at UW-Madison.
William Johnson, AFP’s national chairman, confirmed to The Daily Cardinal Tuesday that the group is seeking new members on UW-Madison’s campus.
AFP is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.
Additionally, Johnson told The Daily Cardinal that Dropik is “still affiliated with [the] organization” and that he expects Dropik will be involved in recruitment efforts in Madison. Johnson also said he believes Dropik is no longer a student at UW-Madison, but acknowledged that he has not spoken to him in “a few weeks.”
Johnson said he is not sure exactly how many people are organizing for his group in Madison, but that he would be "surprised if it's more than two." He also acknowledged that the party would have a "difficult effort to recruit" students because of their "shy and timid" nature regarding interest in white nationalism.
The Feb. 15 post on AFP’s website refers to Dropik as the organizer of the Madison chapter of the party.
“University of Wisconsin-Madison student, Daniel Dropik, is organizing a white nationalist American Freedom Party chapter,” the post reads. Johnson told the Associated Press Feb. 6 that Dropik, fearing for his safety, had abandoned the organization and would be taking a leave of absence from UW-Madison.
Dropik caused a stir in January after he distributed flyers that encouraged students to “fight anti-white racism on campus.” It was later discovered that he pleaded guilty to “racially motivated arson” in 2006 for setting fire to two primarily black churches, sparking protests on campus.
The post goes on to quote Dropik addressing his criminal history and refuting the characterization of the AFP as a hate group.
“The important part to remember is that me as an individual, in spite of my past, and activities with this club right now, that neither one are centered around racial hatred,” Dropik says in the post.
The post also bemoans the lack of UW-Madison organizations dedicated to combatting racism against white students.
“We were unable to find ANY group that promotes the interests and concerns of white Americans or Western Civilization,” the post reads. “Is the University of Wisconsin being intolerant of white people?”
UW-Madison spokesperson Meredith McGlone said the school has "not received any information that indicates activity is occurring" on campus, and reiterated the university's opposition to the goals of the American Freedom Party.
"While all Americans have the right to engage in political activity, the aims of this particular organization are diametrically opposed to our campus values of respect and inclusion," McGlone said. "Many members of our campus community have expressed their strong disagreement with its goals."
Daniel Dropik did not immediately respond to request for comment.
UPDATE Feb. 28, 5:58 p.m.: This article was updated to include additional comments from William Johnson and comments from Meredith McGlone.
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