Devin Saucier attended Vanderbilt in the late 2000s. In 2008, he founded a chapter of the now defunct civic nationalist student group Youth for Western Civilization. Now, Saucier–who operates under the pseudonym Henry Wolff–serves as an author and editor of American Renaissance, the white nationalist news organization behind the flyers posted around campus last week and whose founder, Jared Taylor, is one of the most prominent white nationalists in America. Saucier himself is a self-proclaimed white nationalist.
Former Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain wrote fondly about Saucier’s time at Vanderbilt on her blog, saying that she believed campuses needed more leaders like Saucier and his co-founder, Trevor Williams, who went on to law school after graduation and is now a legal intern in Pennsylvania, according to his LinkedIn page. When the two first founded the group, they approached Swain asking her to be their faculty advisor. Though she declined for personal reasons, she said in a blog post that their presence on campus “predictably enlivened intellectual discussion” through the speakers they brought to campus and the protests they led.
According to Swain, in their time as a campus organization, the Youth for Western Civilization chapter at Vanderbilt brought speakers such as Bay Buchanan, Dr. Bill Warner and Richard Spencer to hold talks on topics like illegal immigration, political Islam and diversity and affirmative action, as well as led a protest against performances of the “Vagina Monologues,” one of which was at Vanderbilt in 2010. Saucier gained prominence on campus when he attended an event hosted by the Muslim Students Association entitled “Common Ground: Being Muslim in the Military” in which the group brought former Muslim chaplain Awadh Binhazim to speak, when he asked Binhazim whether or not he agreed with the Islamic law that calls for capital punishment for homosexual acts. The incident led the university to release a statement clarifying that Binhazim’s role on campus was solely in a volunteer position, and reaffirming the school’s commitment to to free speech and diversity.
Since graduation, Saucier has continued to engage in controversial political movements. Richard Spencer, one of the faces of the alt right movement and president of the National Policy Institute (a white supremacist think tank), called Saucier a friend in an interview with independent news organization Wermod and Wermod publishing group in 2011.
“I’m very lucky to be friends with Kevin DeAnna [cofounder of YWC] and Devin Saucier of Youth for Western Civilization,” Spencer said. “I think this group is extremely important for our side.”
Spencer came into the public eye in January when he received a blow to the face while delivering a speech in Washington, D.C. following Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative commentator and Breitbart senior editor who controversially spoke at Vanderbilt last spring, called Saucier his “best friend” in an email in Oct. 2016, according to a Buzzfeed article.
In a 2016 video of Yiannopoulos singing a rendition of America the Beautiful in a Dallas karaoke bar, Saucier can be seen filming the performance amongst a crowd of supporters, which included Spencer, giving the Nazi salute. Later that night, Saucier and Spencer performed a duet of Duran Duran’s “A View to Kill.”
After posters similar to those found on Vanderbilt’s campus were found on the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s campus in March, Wolff commented via email to the Promethean, the school’s student newspaper, saying that American Renaissance encourages students to hang posters around college campuses.
“College campuses have become hostile places for white students,” he said in the article. “From ‘affirmative action’ admissions policies to mandatory ‘diversity’ seminars—which are often naked anti-white indoctrination—and so on, white students are discriminated against and slighted from even before they step on campus.”
A previous version of this article incorrectly called YWC a “white nationalist group” instead of a “civic nationalist group.” Additionally, it incorrectly stated that YWC hosted the event that brought Binhazim to campus and that Milo and Saucier “frequently collaborate” and edit each other’s work. The Hustler regrets these errors.