BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Towson University graduate was one of the faces of last weekend’s white nationalist rally in Virginia.
Matthew Heimbach made headlines on Towson University’s campus four years ago as a budding white supremacist pushing for a white student union.
Now, an unofficial face of last weekend’s deadly rally in Charlottesville.
As a student, Heimbach became infamous at Towson University for his divisive views on race and religion, and he’s now nationally recognized as a face of white supremacy.
One of his former college advisors, Dr. Richard Vatz, hasn’t forgotten Heimbach, who once tried to stir up race wars on Towson University’s campus.
“I looked at my wife, and I said, ‘Do you know who that is? That’s Matthew Heimbach. The very person who caused me all that trouble four years ago,'” Dr. Vatz said.
The rhetoric and communication professor advised Heimbach as he launched a campus club called “Youth for Western Civilization.”
“He seemed to be, at the time, a very polite, easygoing guy,” he said. “And, as time went by, it turned out, within a year, he was quite the opposite. He started attacking people on campus. Attacking them by their religion. Attacking them by their race.”
As those extreme beliefs surfaced Dr. Vatz withdrew as his advisor.
Students, even the university president, appeared at anti-racist rallies.
This is what Heimbach told WJZ cameras in 2013, as he pushed to start a white student union: “They’re tired of not being able to celebrate pride in their culture. They’re tired of being discriminated against.”
Monday, cameras again rolled as Heimbach defended the man who drove into a crowd in Charlottesville last weekend.
“The nationalist community defended ourselves against thugs in a battle that was brought by this city that wanted a bloodbath,” Heimbach said.
A radical viewpoint, since condemned from the White House, down.
“Though I haven’t followed him very closely, he’s become far worse,” Dr. Vatz said.
WJZ reached out to Heimbach on Tuesday, but he did not return our messages.
Heimbach now lives in Indiana, and calls himself chairman of the Traditionalist Worker Party, which is one of a dozen groups that marched in the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.