UNT firearm club co-founder authors bylaws for “Western chauvinist” group

UNT firearm club co-founder authors bylaws for “Western chauvinist” group

UNT firearm club co-founder authors bylaws for “Western chauvinist” group
November 29
01:42 2018

Update: On Wednesday, a set of what were supposed to be redacted versions of the Proud Boys newly written bylaws released by Jason Van Dyke were found to not be completely redacted, making information about members of the Proud Boys available to anyone.

A Twitter user, whose handle is @pottscruitt, posted screenshots of the faulty redaction efforts accompanied by Van Dyke’s personal cell phone number, encouraging users to text Van Dyke.

In the comments to the tweet by @pottscruitt, some Twitter users posted screenshots of their messages to Van Dyke as well as his responses to them, some of which include offensive terms relating to race and sexuality.

Original story:

After facing a gap in leadership following the departure of their founder and former chairman Gavin McInnis, international “conservative-libertarian” organization Proud Boys utilized local defense attorney and Denton County resident Jason Van Dyke to guide the group’s transition into new leadership. As legal counsel, Van Dyke has represented the group since 2017.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has declared the Proud Boys as an extremist group that is categorized as a general hate group.

Van Dyke sat down for an interview with the Daily on Tuesday, where he elaborated on Proud Boy activities and his personal involvement with the organization.

The “fraternity” consists of men committed to promoting masculinity among their male peers and the advancement of Western values, although as Van Dyke explains, the group’s stances are often conflated with racist principles.

“As far as Western values go, what we’re talking about is the type of values you’d see from the enlightenment,” Van Dyke said. “The types of values the country was founded on, as opposed to values like communism. It’s a common misconception that when we say ‘Western,’ ‘Western’ means white. There is no racial element of this group whatsoever.”

Apart from representing a political fraternity, Van Dyke volunteers as a trainer for the UNT Texas Marksmen, an independent club focused on gun proficiency and awareness he also co-founded. Members of the Marksmen participate in shooting classes designed to train students in handling a weapon in dangerous situations.

Van Dyke joined the Proud Boys in 2017 and now offers his knowledge as an attorney to assist the self-described “Western Chauvinist” group in legal matters.

Van Dyke confirmed that members of the UNT community, including students, are members of the Dallas chapters of the Proud Boys.

Under his supervision, the Proud Boys recently adopted new bylaws authored by Van Dyke that attempt to reshape their rules and contentious reputation.

Since their inception in 2016, several Proud Boys chapters have garnered national attention for violent incidents ranging from isolated assaults to street brawls in cities like Berkeley, California, and Portland, Oregon.

Their opponents include members of antifa, a controversial umbrella group concerned with anti-fascist protests. Both groups have clashed in events across the country, including a skirmish in New York that prompted a rebuke from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Van Dyke’s own history includes an arrest in Sept. 2018 on misdemeanor charges of filing a false police report. Van Dyke allegedly called police to his home with the claim some of his guns had been stolen from his vehicle, which had been damaged in the process. However, parts of the claim, including how the truck was damaged, were found to be false after Van Dyke’s roommate provided a different story, resulting in his arrest.

He was released from jail that evening on $1,000 bond and is still able to practice law in Texas.

Additionally, Van Dyke filed a libel suit seeking $100,000 in damages against journalist Gerry Bello in Oct. 2017, after Bello referred to him and other member of the Proud Boys as “Neo-Nazis.”

In response to negative attention toward these and other events, some former guidelines of the group have since been eliminated.

“The longstanding policy of the group has been, ‘We don’t start fights, but we will finish them,’” Van Dyke said. “There was some controversy about [our] fourth degree of initiation. For awhile, there was a poorly conceived policy you had to engage in a fight to get your fourth degree. That is abolished.”

Other features of the new bylaws include mandates on masturbation, establishment of a “founder’s day” honoring their former chairman Gavin McInnis and the designation of new “elders” to preside over leadership duties.

Prior to his association with the Proud Boys, Van Dyke drew criticism from some media outlets and blogs for his reported involvement in online white supremacist forum Stormfront. Van Dyke denied having ties with the website, claiming hackers crafted misleading Stormfront posts invoking his identity without his consent.

In 2014, critics leveled more allegations of racism against Van Dyke after he threatened Twitter user @dividedly for reportedly sharing the social security numbers of Van Dyke and his parents. Van Dyke’s Twitter response featured a picture of a noose and a caption reading, “Look good and hard at this picture you f—–g n—–r. It’s where I am going to put your neck.”

When questioned by the Daily about the nature of his tweet toward the user, Van Dyke initially denied involvement, but later admitted to composing the post in response to threats against his family.

“I certainly don’t regret threatening [the user],” Van Dyke said. “I regret using the n-word in that tweet, and I would’ve chosen my words differently today, but would I still [have] threatened him today? Absolutely.”

In 2017, rapper Talib Kweli referenced the incident as a reason to publicly share Van Dyke’s address on Twitter, resulting in Kweli being temporarily suspended from the platform.

Leigh Anne Gullet, UNT’s associate director of news, delivered a statement regarding the criticism surrounding Van Dyke and the Proud Boys condemning the group’s ideals, claiming they do not line up with those of the university.

“UNT has a campus culture of caring and our community always finds ways to thoughtfully engage in dialogue and guard against behaviors that would disrupt our university community,” Gullett said. “At all times, we encourage our faculty, staff and students to support each other, be respectful, welcoming and considerate of each other.”

Featured Image: Jason Lee Van Dyke, an attorney who represents the Proud Boys, wrote the “Western chauvinist” organization’s bylaws this past week while assisting in a transition of leadership. Sean Riedel

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Van Dyke’s 2014 tweet featuring insensitive and offensive language was directed toward rapper Talib Kweli, when in fact it was directed at a user Van Dyke described as a hacker who had publicly shared his and his parents social security numbers. The Daily regrets this error.

Additionally, the story has been updated from it’s original version to include more information about Van Dyke.

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Carter Mize

Carter Mize

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3 Comments

  1. Robert
    Robert November 29, 07:04

    If they’re claiming to be libertarian without authorization by the Libertarian International Organization, they’re frauds. In the US, non-LIO use of ‘libertarian’ is controlled by the US Libertarian Party with LIO permission, with the sole aim of spreading the Libertarian Pledge of non-violence.

    Proud Boys may call themselves an informal small-l libertarian-study or -applier organization, but they don’t seem to be that either.

    The libertarian family in your neighborhood is most likely to include your local Red Cross first responder or Physician, not some fight club.

    Reply to this comment
    • Rocker
      Rocker December 02, 20:20

      Nobody wants a white supremacist group in Denton. And certainly not at UNT. THIS MUST BE INVESTIGATED. They must not be associated with University of North Texas in any way.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Bill
    Bill December 03, 06:20

    These guys are a dangerous proto-fascist street gang. The founder, Gavin McInnes, literally called it a “gang.” In New York, nine members of the Proud Boys are facing charges for organized gang assault.

    Reply to this comment

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