After a University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) student was photographed at a white nationalist march three time zones away, UNR president Marc Johnson said Sunday the campus doesn’t condone racism.
The gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va. was reportedly to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It was dubbed “Unite the Right.”
Events turned deadly when 20-year-old James Fields Jr., of Maumee, Ohio drove through a counter protest, killing one person and injuring 19. According to news reports, he was arrested on charges of second degree murder, malicious wounding and hit-and-run.
But it was the photo taken at the rally of UNR student Peter Cvjetanovic, 20, a graduate of North Valleys High School and a member of UNR College Republicans, that got Northern Nevadans talking.
Johnson described racism and white supremacist movements as having a “corrosive effect on our society.”
“These movements do not represent our values as a university,” Johnson said in a statement. “We denounce any movement that targets individuals due to the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, political beliefs, sexual orientation, ability/disability, or whether they were born in our country. As an institution, we remain firm in our commitment in denouncing all forms of bigotry and racism, which have no place in a free and equal society.”
Without mentioning Cvjetanovic by name, UNR College Republicans also denounced the event.
“Allegations have come to the attention of UNR College Republicans that an individual member had involvement in the protests that have taken place,” a statement on the club’s FaceBook page from president Bethanie Cooper said. “We are working diligently with the community to address these allegations and would like to clarity that these dangerous beliefs have no place in the College Republicans or at the University of Nevada.”
One web site is calling for UNR to take disciplinary action against Cvjetanovic: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-nevada-reno-fire-expel-peter-cvjetanovic
Cvjetanovic said he didn’t condone violence, either. Cvjetanovic’s Facebook profile shows him to be a member of the International Group of National Conservatives, Croatian World Network CROWN and The Preservation of Sagas, Eddas, And Nordic History.
“I did not go there to commit acts of violence, and that was not the goal of the rally, and no one was meant to be killed,” Cvjetanovic said on social media. “I am sorry things turned out the way they did, and I give my condolences to the family of the victims, for whatever that’s worth. I hope the man responsible is punished to the full extent of the law, regardless of personal ideology.”
Cvjetanovic also did an interview this weekend with KTVN-TV and admitted to being a non-violent white nationalist.
“As a white nationalist, I care for all people. We all deserve a future for our children and for our culture. White nationalists aren’t all hateful; we just want to preserve what we have.”
A vigil for the Charlottesville victims is scheduled from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Monday at City Plaza in downtown Reno, 10 S. Virginia St.