A photograph of Peter Cvjetanovic’s angry face illuminated by torches quickly went viral after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia a few weeks ago. Now, the University of Nevada, Reno, student is quitting his on-campus job.
In an interview with 4-Fox 11, Cvjetanovic said “other students might not appreciate me” as their campus escort driver. He claimed that it would probably be best for everyone if he walked away.
“The thing about it, it’s very much a social interaction and requires a lot of trust both ways.” Cvjetanovic explained. “I quit because I want to have some form of peace at the university.”
He was quickly identified at the Unite the Right rally that left one young woman, Heather Heyer, dead. Cvjetanovic came out as a white nationalist and member of Identity Evropa, classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He swore “I’m not the angry racist they see,” after his photo went viral.
He did attend his first day of class without any issues.
“I did get a few glares, but nothing really. No one approached me,” he said.
Though, an online petition that has 36,000 signatures demands he be expelled from school. It proclaims that Cvjetanovic is not the victim in the situation and was accountable for his actions and thus should suffer consequences.
“The petition to expel me isn’t going to work. I’m protected by the First Amendment and that’s not going to change,” he commented.
While other schools have considered expulsion for such students citing their code of conduct, university President Marc Johnson has no plans to do so for Cvjetanovic.
“The First Amendment freedom of free speech requires us all to understand that sometimes support of this freedom can be uncomfortable,” he said in a statement.
The student board is looking into whether the code of conduct was violated, however. Just shortly after the rally, Shannon Ellis, the vice president of Student Services, said that his conduct did not.
“I can see where they’re coming from that they might be uncomfortable. I really hope they understand that I’m not going to hurt anyone. I’ve held these beliefs for a long time,” Cvjetanovic said. “I just want a peaceful year. This is my senior year and the people who want me gone — it’s only until May.”
He is a political science major at the school.