Stanislaus State has launched an investigation into a video which surfaced over the weekend, seemingly showing one of their students, Nathan Damigo, punching a woman in the face at protests in Berkeley on Saturday.
Video of the punch went viral and was taken at a violent confrontation that broke out between both supporters and protesters of President Donald Trump, which included clashes between self-described anti-fascists and white nationalists.
In a statement released Sunday, Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn said that she has initiated an “immediate investigation” on campus to verify and confirm details of the incident.
“The university has zero tolerance for the use of violence and we will take all of the necessary legal and disciplinary measure to ensure that all students and everyone on campus have a safe and secure environment,” said Junn.
In the video, Damigo ran up to a woman involved in the fighting and punched her in the face, then fled into the crowd.
Damigo, a 30-year-old former Marine corporal, has drawn criticism from the campus community on previously occasions.
The student is the founder of a white nationalist group called Identity Evropa, which propagates white supremacist messages at college campuses throughout the nation through fliers with slogans like “Let’s Become Great Again” and “Protect Your Heritage.”
The fliers were posted around Stanislaus State last October, causing concern among students and in response, opposition posters were posted around campus calling Damigo a “well-known white supremacist.”
Each opposition flier included a description of Damigo, including details of how he was dishonorably discharged from the military after “he chased down and robbed a cab driver at gunpoint for ‘looking Iraqi’” in 2007 and served five years in prison, according to Northern California Anti-Racist Action.
“Since then, he has hosted an alt-right podcast and served as chairman in the extremist National Youth Front, a position he acquired after the previous chair was forced out by death threats over his interracial marriage,” the posters stated.
At the time, the university’s Interim Associate Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Janice Curtin said that the Identity Evropa posters would be investigated, but that as a public university system, the school would uphold the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech, even if the speech is controversial.
In light of Damigo’s recent act of violence that was caught on tape, many on social media have called for the student’s arrest and his expulsion from Stanislaus State.
“While this incident understandably raises many negative emotions and calls for urgent actions, we must also hold true to our American system and principles of justice and due process,” said Junn.
Junn assured the campus community that the university is in constant contact with relevant officials, and will take appropriate and timely actions to address the issue.
Though Damigo did not respond to a request for comment, recent activity on his Twitter page highlights the fact that the woman he assaulted was armed with a glass bottle. Damigo’s Twitter account also points to the social media pages of the woman he assaulted, where she posted that she was headed to Berkeley to disrupt the white supremacist demonstration and was “determined to bring back 100 Nazi scalps.”