CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - An online petition is asking the University of Virginia to revoke the diplomas received by white activist Jason Kessler, and National Policy Institute President Richard Spencer.

Kessler organized the recent Unite the Right rally in support of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Emancipation Park, and Spencer was a headliner for the event.

Skirmishes broke out before last Saturday's rally between people associated with white supremacists, neo-Nazi groups, "ANTIFA", Black Lives Matter, and other organizations. An unlawful assembly was declared at around 11:30 a.m., which prompted police in riot gear to respond.

Twenty-year-old James Alex Fields, Jr. was pictured at the rally with members of Vanguard America, a right-wing group. He is accused of driving a car into a group of protesters, which left 19 peopled injured, and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

The Anti-Defamation League lists both men as leaders of the “alt-right” movement, and describes them has white supremacists. Meanwhile, the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies both UVA alumni as white nationalists.

So far, more than 7,300 people have signed the petition. The petition's current goal is to amass 8,000 signatures.

According to policy, UVA "reserves the right to revoke diplomas previously conferred when the student has not satisfied the rules and regulations of the university."

NBC29 has reached out to the University of Virginia for clarification on how it may go about revoking an alumni's diploma, if it is even possible.

08/17/2017 Release from Care2:

CHARLOTTESVILLE - A Care2 petition is demanding the University of Virginia revoke the diplomas of alumni Jason Kessler, who organized the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, and Richard Spencer, who headlined the event as a speaker.

Over 4,500 have signed the petition.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified, both, Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer as “extremists” for their well-documented white nationalist sentiments.


Care2’s Lacey Kohlmoos, the petition author and a University of Virginia graduate in 2005, stated, “It makes me feel ill that I have to share my alumni status with the men responsible for terrorizing the city of Charlottesville and bringing torch-bearing Nazis and Klansmen to the [UVA] Lawn.”

“I do not care that they earned the class credits needed to get a diploma from UVA. I do not care that they were never caught for honor code violations while they were students,” said Kohlmoos. “They have violated our university and all its students past and present in a way that goes far beyond cheating on a test. They do not deserve to be a part of the UVA community.”

Since the violence erupted in Charleston and President Trump’s initial equivocating statements blaming “both sides,” seven CEOs from Merck, Under Armour, 3M, Intel and others have resigned from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council causing Trump to disband it.

Furthermore, Twitter has deleted accounts belonging to neo-Nazi website, and “Unite the Right Rally” supporters, Daily Stormer. And domain providers GoDaddy and Alphabet Inc’s Google Domains said they would no longer serve the website following outrage over the site publishing a post mocking victim Heather Heyer.

Care2 and its members have also launched petitions for removal of Confederate statues, monuments, and symbols across the country: In Charlottesville, there is a petition to replace the Confederate statue with a memorial to victim Heather Heyer; A petition to relocate the Confederate statue at Travis Park in Texas; And a petition to remove the Confederate statue at the Caddo Courthouse in Louisiana.