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Texas Prep School Distances Itself From White Nationalist Alum

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    Linda Davidson / The Washington Post/Getty Images
    Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute

    A Dallas preparatory school for boys denounced actions by one of its graduates, releasing a statement on Friday that said it rejects "racism and bigotry in all of its forms and expressions."

    The message from St. Mark's School of Texas did not name the graduate but referenced a video of the alumnus "leading a white nationalist meeting in Washington, D.C."

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    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    White nationalist Richard Spencer, an alumnus of St. Mark's, lead a conference in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 19, drawing Nazi-style salutes from people in the audience.

    In a video released on YouTube by The Atlantic, Spencer praised the election of Donald Trump as president by saying, "Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!"

    “America was, until this past generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Spencer said. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.” 

    St. Mark's statement, from headmaster David W. Dini, read in part:

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    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    On Friday, November 18th in our annual Thanksgiving message to alumni,
    parents, and faculty, we referenced recent news stories that connect St. Mark’s to ideas
    expressed by one of our graduates that conflict directly with our core values and
    principles. Just one day later, video footage emerged of this alumnus leading a white
    nationalist meeting in Washington, D.C., bringing even greater attention to these hateful,
    divisive, racist, and anti-Semitic views. This has been deeply troubling and terribly
    upsetting to our whole school community. At St. Mark’s, we reject racism and bigotry in
    all its forms and expressions. Our mission, values, and programs stand in direct
    opposition to these vulgar ideas. In light of such comments, our mission to develop boys
    of strong character, compassion, empathy, and courage has increasing relevance and
    importance.

    "On Friday, November 18th in our annual Thanksgiving message to alumni,parents, and faculty, we referenced recent news stories that connect St. Mark’s to ideas expressed by one of our graduates that conflict directly with our core values and principles. Just one day later, video footage emerged of this alumnus leading a white nationalist meeting in Washington, D.C., bringing even greater attention to these hateful, divisive, racist, and anti-Semitic views. This has been deeply troubling and terribly upsetting to our whole school community. At St. Mark’s, we reject racism and bigotry in all its forms and expressions. Our mission, values, and programs stand in direct opposition to these vulgar ideas. In light of such comments, our mission to develop boys of strong character, compassion, empathy, and courage has increasing relevance and importance."

    It continued:

    "We remain deeply committed to including and valuing all students of different backgrounds, races, religions, beliefs, and experiences, and our commitment to those ideals is paramount and immutable."

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    Spencer is scheduled to address students at Texas A&M University on Dec. 6. The school said it did not invite Spencer but cannot stop the speech because people can reserve campus space available to the public.

    The Dallas Morning News reported that some of Spencer's former classmates at St. Mark's began an online fundraising campaign to repudiate his ideas. The goal is to raise money for the International Rescue Committee, a nonprofit group that helps refugees and asylum-seekers, including in the United States.

    Last December, the state of Texas tried to bar the International Rescue Committee from resettling Syrian refugees in Texas. But in June, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Texas had no legal standing to bring a suit.