Nicholas Fuentes, a rising figure in alt-right circles, was previously admitted to Auburn, despite reports that he had not been offered admittance and had not even applied, documents obtained by The Auburn Plainsman show.
Fuentes, now 19, was offered admittance to Auburn for the fall 2017 academic semester. He applied in the late spring and was admitted in June on a transfer basis, the documents obtained show.
He decided not to accept the admission offer for the fall semester, instead choosing to wait for the spring semester.
In accordance with standard admission policy, Fuentes will need to reapply for the spring semester as admission is valid solely for the semester for which it is offered, according to a University spokesperson.
The current Boston University student told The Plainsman Saturday that recent death threats he received in Boston made him feel unsafe and were a driving factor in his final decision to transfer. He began receiving the death threats after attending the white nationalist Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Other reports said Monday that Fuentes had not applied for the spring semester, nor had he been admitted, citing a statement from the University. The reports didn't include that Fuentes had been previously accepted for a different term.
Fuentes said those reports were "deliberately misleading" and that he would reapply for the spring semester.
Fuentes told The Plainsman on Saturday that he had been admitted and plans to transfer in the spring.
For the past year, Fuentes has amassed a growing group of followers in far-right and alt-right circles by hosting a right-wing show on the Auburn-based Right Side Broadcasting Network, which has a YouTube following that rivals major broadcast networks. He attended the Charlottesville rally on Aug. 12, which was dominated largely by white nationalists, white supremacists, Klansmen and neo-Nazi sympathizers.
The University issued a statement Monday night distancing itself from Fuentes' rhetoric and views.
"As a public university, Auburn does not consider political views as a criterion for admission," the University said. "However, we seek students,
Fuentes told The Plainsman over the weekend that he believed Auburn would be more accepting of his controversial viewpoints.
"It (Auburn) has better weather and better people," Fuentes said. "And ultimately I think it will be friendlier territory."
Fuentes has repeatedly espoused racist, violent and Islamaphobic views on his Right Side Broadcasting Network show, which began streaming in February. In one segment, he said the First Amendment wasn't written for "barbaric" Muslims. Later, in the same show, he said it was "time to kill the globalists" who he believes run the media.
"I don't want CNN to be more honest," he
"Globalists" is a term that has often been used with anti-Semitic overtones. Jewish groups consider it offensive and say it alludes to an attack that is commonly labeled against Jewish people — that they somehow secretly control the world.
When we asked about those comments directed at CNN, Fuentes said he "regrets nothing."
What he plans to do in Auburn isn't clear but he is now launching a new podcast and said he plans to press forward with his right-wing views in Auburn.
"I want to rally the troops in terms of this new right-wing movement," Fuentes said.
In the midst of a nationwide debate over Confederate monuments being placed in places of prominence, the Charlottesville rally was originally billed as a protest against the removal of a city memorial dedicated to Robert E. Lee. But it quickly morphed into a white nationalist rally — in both planning and execution.
The gathering ended in violence when 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was protesting the white nationalists, died after being hit by a car allegedly driven by a neo-Nazi sympathizer, James Alex Fields, in an attack labeled a domestic terror incident.
In an interview with The Boston Globe, Fuentes called Heyer's death a "tragedy." But in an obstinate Facebook post just hours after the attacks, he called the white nationalist gathering an "incredible rally."
In his interview with The Plainsman, he doubled down on that remark, saying it was incredible "in the same way that someone would say that World War II was a great victory or winning the Cold War was a victory."
"I think it was a victory in a sense that we brought light to an issue that would have gone unnoticed, would have continued silently," Fuentes said of the push to remove Confederate monuments from places of prominence across the country — ignoring reports that the rally was mostly a white power rally that used the Confederate monuments issue as a spring board.
In the same Facebook post, Fuentes went further, saying a "tidal wave of white identity is coming," echoing a common refrain among alt-right and white nationalist leaders, including white nationalist leader Richard Spencer, who chose Auburn as a target for a white nationalist gathering in April.
An Illinois-native, Fuentes denies being a white nationalist, a white supremacist, a neo-Nazi or a member of the Klan, despite using rhetoric that's nearly identical with that used by those groups, including the proclamation that the powers at be are propagating a "white genocide" and a Eurocentric ethnostate would be preferable over pluralism and diversity.
"I see this, and I think a lot of people in the South see this as a cultural genocide," Fuentes said. "I think if it was any other people and any other country in the world, the United Nations, the United States, the liberal press would call this cultural genocide. But because it's a certain group of people, the removal of our monuments and our history has gone unnoticed without media attention."
Fuentes identifies as a "paleoconservative" and said he is not a white supremacist or Neo-Nazi "by any stretch of the imagination." He said he likely wouldn't be welcomed in those groups because of his Mexican ancestry and his membership in the Catholic church.
In addition to the common claim that there is some sort of a "white genocide," paleoconservatives seek to transform the immigration system in a way to prevent white people and western culture from losing their majority status, a sentiment Fuentes also espouses. "Paleoconservatism" has always been associated with neo-Confederate, white nationalist and anti-Semitic ideologies, according to Rutgers professor David Greenberg.
The deadline for transfer applications is Oct. 1.