DHS Funds University That Once Hosted Seminar Where ‘Mainstream Conservatism’ Was Compared To Nazism

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Erinn Broadus Investigative Reporter
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Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include comment from the University of Dayton.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funded an anti-domestic terrorism program for a university that once hosted a seminar where “mainstream conservatism” was compared to Nazism, according to federal grant data.

The University of Dayton’s PREVENTS-OH program was awarded over $300,000 under DHS’ Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program (TVTP), according to grant data. Prior to applying for the grant, the university’s Human Rights Center held a seminar on “Extremism, Rhetoric, and Democratic Precarity,” where a professor shared a “Pyramid of Far-Right Radicalization,” which linked right-leaning organizations like Fox News and The Heritage Foundation to radical organizations like the Daily Stormer, a pro-Nazi publication and The Base, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group. (RELATED: ‘The Whipping Did Not Occur’: Mayorkas Corrects Reporter On Debunked Border Patrol Whipping Allegations)

TVTP “provides funding for communities to expand their prevention and intervention activities or address gaps in current prevention capabilities,” DHS told The Daily Caller News Foundation. The majority of the grants, 52%, have gone to public institutions like universities.

PREVENTS-OH “aims to develop a proactive, informed and resilient network of organizations, coalitions and civic entities aware and capable of collaborating to prevent domestic violent extremism in Southwest Ohio,” according to the grant.

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 21: The Department of Homeland Security seal on the podium used by acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan as he announces new rules about how migrant children and families are treated in federal custody at the Ronald Reagan Building August 21, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Trump Administration announced the change in rules that would allow it to indefinitely detain migrant families who cross the border illegally, replacing the Flores Agreement which limited on how long the government could hold migrant children in custody and how they must be cared for. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“We have a tiered system here between mainstream conservativism on the bottom, what I think is falsely called the ‘alt-lite,’ what is … used to be called the ‘alt-right’ … and then what we look at at the top, accelerationists and folks who are engaging in active violence, not street brawling, but bombs and guns and what not,” University of Cincinnati Research Fellow Michael Loadenthal said in his introductory remarks on the pyramid.

Loadenthal said that the pyramid was representative of the “modern far-right” during the presentation.

The Media Research Center (MRC), a conservative watchdog organization, first reported on the matter Thursday.

“This seminar was not funded, organized, or hosted by the Department of Homeland Security,” DHS told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Similarly, the presented chart was not developed, presented, or endorsed by the Department of Homeland Security and was not part of any successful grant application to the Department of Homeland Security,” DHS said.

MRC sent a letter to Republican House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan on Tuesday regarding their findings and concerns about government collusion, according to the Washington Examiner. “The Media Research Center has uncovered disturbing documentation that proves that the government is colluding with left-wing activists, academics, and state and local officials in an active effort to target some of the most prestigious conservatives and prominent political, religious, and media groups in the country, linking them directly to Nazis and terrorists,” it said.

“There are numerous symposiums, teach-ins, conferences, lunch and learns and other collaborative events that take place on our campus every year,” said University of Dayton officials to Daily Caller News Foundation. For some events, speakers from outside of the university network are invited to present their findings, they explained.

“The speakers at the programs referred to in the Media Research Center’s report are from the University of Dayton Human Rights Center’s Social Practice of Human Rights Conference in the fall of 2021, which predates the awarding of the PREVENTS-OH grant,” they said.

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