White nationalist Richard Spencer at Texas A&M: What people are saying

Richard Spencer, a white nationalist and leader of the so-called “alt-right” movement, gave a speech at Texas A&M University Tuesday night where he stated that the word “racist” is “a fake word” and laid out the tenants of the alt-right movement.

Richard Spencer, a White Nationalist who is scheduled to speak later tonight, takes a brief tour of Texas A&M campus near the Memorial Student Center. Hid invited talk has caused an uproar among students preaching diversity and unity and who gathered peacefully outside the center to protest his appearance December 6, 2016. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Richard Spencer, a White Nationalist who is scheduled to speak later tonight, takes a brief tour of Texas A&M campus near the Memorial Student Center. His invited talk has caused an uproar among students preaching diversity and unity and who gathered peacefully outside the center to protest his appearance December 6, 2016. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

University officials condemned Spencer’s views and organized a counter-rally called “Aggies United,” but maintained that freedom-of-speech principles prevented them from cancelling Spencer’s speech.

The “Aggies United” rally at Kyle Field featured local College Station celebrities and A&M students and was hosted by television actor Hill Harper.

Texas A&M University Chancellor John Sharp, who invoked John 15:13 (“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”)  at the beginning of his speech, spoke of the bond between Americans in general and Aggies in specific, commending the protesters for standing up against hate.

“If you’re a purveyor of hate and divisiveness, and you want to spread that kind of racism, then this is the last campus you should want to come to,” Sharp told the audience.

More: A&M president, chancellor speak at ‘Aggies United’ rally

University president Michael K. Young also spoke and condemned Spencer’s rhetoric.

Young was critical of white nationalism — a creed that critics say veers into white supremacy and anti-Semitism — while saying that differences strengthen a community.

“Our differences enrich us; our differences make us complete,” Spencer said.

A&M quarterback Trevor Knight also made an appearance, espousing his football value of “family over everything.”

People throughout the night tweeted about the rally and voiced their concern and disgust with Spencer’s speech, happening just a few blocks away. Protesters ended up clashing with Spencer supporters at the end of the night, and riot police were eventually called in.

https://twitter.com/ElliDink1/status/806314344074113024

https://twitter.com/TxAg_Matt15/status/806276665395576833

https://twitter.com/OmanReagan/status/806334225762791428

Others commented about Spencer and his rhetoric on Facebook throughout the night.





Ralph K.M. Haurwitz, Philip Jankowski and Marty Toohey contributed to this report.

White nationalist Richard Spencer to speak at Texas A&M next month

Richard Spencer, a white nationalist and a leading voice of the so-called alt-right movement, is scheduled to speak on the campus of Texas A&M University next month, the Battalion reported Wednesday.

But university officials sought to distance themselves from the appearance, saying in a statement on Wednesday that “private citizens are permitted to reserve space available to the public as we are a public university.”

Spencer, who heads a think tank called the National Policy Institute, has defined the alt-right – short for “alternative right” – as a set of ideologies with a core belief in white identity and a racially homogeneous society. Critics of the movement says its rhetoric is racist and advocates white supremacy.

The profile of the alt-right movement has been elevated ever since President-elect Donald Trump named former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon his chief strategist. Bannon has described Breitbart, a conservative news outlet, as “the platform for the alt-right.”

Spencer, who will be speaking at Rudder Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Dec. 6, gained wider notoriety this week after video from a national alt-right conference showed supporters raising their arms in an apparent Nazi salute after Spencer told the crowd, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory.”

Trump, in an interview Tuesday with the New York Times, disavowed the alt-right group in the video.

According to the Battalion, white nationalist Preston Wiginton, who attended A&M briefly from 2006 to 2007 and has brought other white nationalist speakers to the university, organized the event.

A&M University spokesperson Amy B. Smith, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Texas A&M, provided a public statement that sought to clarify that Spencer was not invited by the university.

“To be clear, Texas A&M University – including faculty, staff, students and/or student groups – did not invite this speaker to our campus nor do we endorse his rhetoric in any way. In fact, our leadership finds his views as expressed to date in direct conflict with our core values,” the statement said.