White nationalist leader to speak at Texas A&M University next month
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By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A white nationalist leader seen in a video shouting "Hail Trump" while some attendees perform Nazi salutes at a weekend rally in Washington is scheduled to speak at Texas A&M University next month for an event not sanctioned by the school, officials said on Wednesday.
Richard Spencer, leader of the National Policy Institute, was invited to speak by Preston Wiginton, a former student at the university, located in College Station, Texas, according to school newspaper The Battalion.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate speech, said Wiginton is a prominent white supremacist living part of the time in Russia.
Texas A&M said its leaders find Spencer's views in direct conflict with the university's core values.
"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," Amy Smith, the university's senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer, said in a statement.
The National Policy Institute, a think tank within the so-called alt-right movement, which includes neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites, held a gathering at the federally owned Ronald Reagan Building last Saturday.
A video by The Atlantic taken inside the conference showed Spencer shouting, "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!" as some of the people in attendance lifted their arms in a Nazi salute.
The alt-right movement came to the fore during the U.S. presidential election.
President-elect Donald Trump has drawn criticism for naming Steve Bannon, former head of Breitbart News, a website linked to the alt-right, as his chief White House strategist.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Rigby)
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