Today's Paper Latest Coronavirus Cooking Families Core values App Listen Story ideas iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive
story.lead_photo.caption Torch-bearing white nationalists gather around a statue of Robert E. Lee during a demonstration Friday night in Charlottesville, Va.

The 33-year-old man photographed on Friday wearing an "Arkansas Engineering" T-shirt at a widely condemned Charlottesville, Va., rally said he never intended to bring shame to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

"I'm sorry they suffered because of this," said Andrew Dodson, a former UA graduate student, also apologizing to the UA professor wrongly identified on social media as the man in the photo.

The event, promoted as a "pro-white" gathering, broke into several violent clashes Saturday. A 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, died after being struck by a car while peacefully counterprotesting, police said.

The image of Dodson, walking with other rallygoers and holding a torch, spread on social media.

[GALLERY: Read 60+ emails sent to professor's email after he was misidentified]

Dodson said he agreed to publicly acknowledge participating in the rally "because other people are suffering for what I did," adding, "that's not right."

UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz in a Twitter message on Saturday condemned "hatred, violence & white supremacy." His post included the photograph with Dodson, and Steinmetz stated: "Diversity & inclusion are @Uarkansas values. Not this."

Dodson said he was taken aback by the violence and denied being a white supremacist.

"I've been to a number of rallies and things and it wasn't like this bloodbath," Dodson said.

He said he "wasn't thinking" when he wore the shirt at the rally, having worn it on the plane ride to the event.

A UA spokesman said Dodson attended from fall 2010 through fall 2013, with no degree awarded. Dodson said he moved to Arkansas in 2009 and left in 2015. He now lives in the New England area, he said.

The university also on Saturday used social media to correct misinformation that led to harassment of Kyle Quinn, a faculty member. His photo was shared in social media posts wrongly identifying him as having been at the rally.

Told of Dodson coming forward, UA spokesman Mark Rushing in a statement said "the individual in question does not represent the values of the College of Engineering or the University of Arkansas," and that UA "will continue to support and promote a diverse, welcoming and inclusive campus and society."

Dodson said he attended the gathering to hear speakers such as Richard Spencer, a leader of the so-called alt-right movement.

At the Friday night rally, several dozen participants holding torches chanted slogans including "Blood and soil," a phrase associated with Nazi ideology, as they marched on the University of Virginia campus.

Court documents filed after an attempt to cancel the event described the Saturday rally as a demonstration opposing a city plan to remove from a park a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate army general during the Civil War. Organizer Jason Kessler, in a video on social media, described it as a "pro-white" event.

Dodson said he's interested in ideas from a group known as Identity Evropa. The group's membership form online asks applicants whether they and their spouses are of "European, non-Semitic heritage."

"I just don't know them that well, but I did ask them, so 'What are they about?'" Dodson said. "And some of the stuff they said, 'We are not the kind of group that goes and carries like Nazi flags,'" Dodson said.

Dodson said he believes in preserving his heritage, which he described as being under attack. He spoke about the defacement of some veterans' graves, referring to a report last year about graves damaged at various sites across the country.

"People doing that to a Revolutionary War veteran, a Vietnam War veteran, a Civil War veteran, that's all wrong. You don't stomp on someone's grave. That's evil," Dodson said.

Dodson said his community service project to earn an Eagle Scout badge as a teenager in South Carolina involved preserving a graveyard near a trailer park.

"This is something important from where I'm from," Dodson said, adding that he worked on the project with his father, his brothers and his friends.

"I think that black people ought to have a strong view of black heritage and white people ought to have a strong white heritage and we ought to not erase the history. There's a lot of bad things that have happened on both sides, but let's not forget it and repeat it," Dodson said.

Dodson spoke to a reporter from The Atlantic while at the rally, and he criticized the resulting article as painting with too broad a brush those attending the event.

He said he was shocked on Sunday to learn how his image had spread online across social media. The next day, he lost his job as research director and co-founder of a startup company, he said.

"I did not know that it would come back around to them," Dodson said.

Metro on 08/17/2017

Print Headline: Ex-student apologizes to UA, professor over photo from 'pro-white' rally


Sponsor Content

Archived Comments

  • KingCoyote
    August 17, 2017 at 8:01 a.m.

    How simple minded can one person be??? And to top it off he is 33 years old?!?!? Good grief!

  • Jesuswillsave
    August 17, 2017 at 8:34 a.m.

    Mr. Dodson is a brave man to come forward and I D himself because of the trouble coming to the person that had been miss Identified . Has the person that named the Professor as the person wearing the tee shirt come forward and apologized? Remember Dodson was at a rally that had a permit to be there and they were attached. Taking down memorials will not change the past.

  • 3WorldState1
    August 17, 2017 at 8:49 a.m.

    You are half correct. He was legally marching with Nazis. Nazis are good at paper work, I guess.
    But, he was man enough to come Fwd. My guess is he knew he was going to be found out. Self preservation.

  • Packman
    August 17, 2017 at 9:35 a.m.

    This guy, whatever his beliefs, did the right thing by manning up and coming forward. Unlike the terrorist anifa, he never covered his face and engaged in peaceful protest.

  • wildblueyonder
    August 17, 2017 at 10:04 a.m.

    Where is the confession and apology from the guy who started the false I D in the first place? Guess he will remain an "anonymous source".

  • NWAGrandma
    August 17, 2017 at 10:04 a.m.

    In this hate-filled, "shoot from the hip" time we are living in now, this should be a lesson to all of us. No matter what our views, ALL of us need to slow down, take some deep breaths. Next we need to do a LOT of careful research and think twice--or maybe THREE times--or MORE--before we run to our various media formats with our thoughts, videos, photos. Then, perhaps, we would not have so much half-baked, ill-informed, knee-jerk, hate-spewing misinformation that can cause great damage to good people like this innocent professor AND further stir the HatePot. It is time for the hate to go, folks. Remember the quote from one of our country's leaders? "United we stand. Divided we fall."

  • billeaton
    August 17, 2017 at 10:47 a.m.

    He manned up to help others. He gave his accurate side. The people and media that ran with it and falsely accused others should be held accountable monetarily for slander defamation or libel.

  • PopMom
    August 17, 2017 at 2:21 p.m.

    Yes, but did he shout anti-Jewish slogans? What these people said and did was HORRIBLE.

    August 17, 2017 at 3:19 p.m.

    Choot em all, LMAO

  • FreshAir
    August 17, 2017 at 3:20 p.m.

    I would say that I can't believe the ignorance of some of you people, but then again, I grew up here. What has this country come to? We're so politically divided that we're going to praise this guy for coming forward (after embarrassing our state) and try to blame a group on the other side (anti-fascist) for this whole situation? Don't get me wrong, I know both groups are guilty, but you people are so far gone that you're now taking sides? Defending one group or the other? What the hell is going on?
    This is exactly what the news media wants. They lead you around by the noses, tell you half-truths so you'll keep coming back for more. No better way to do that than to make sure you have an enemy. So many people are addicted to anger, too lazy to try to understand more than one point of view and all the while these entertainment news networks are cashing checks.
    I know this is wasted time, but maybe it's therapy for me. I just ask that some of you guys disconnect from this nonsense for a little while and remember that the vast majority of us are good people just trying to live the best life we can while we're here. More than any other thing, that's our true history.