Dallas

Elite Dallas school alumni disavow classmate — a white nationalist

Richard Spencer attends the largest white nationalist and Alt Right conference of the year Nov. 18 in Washington.
Richard Spencer attends the largest white nationalist and Alt Right conference of the year Nov. 18 in Washington. The Washington Post via AP

Typically, alumni from an elite school like St. Mark’s in Dallas eagerly celebrate when one of their own achieves national stature.

Not so when it’s a white nationalist.

Graduates of St. Mark’s School of Texas — an all boy’s institution — and its sister Hockaday School are cringing over the newfound infamy of Richard Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think-tank.

They're so bothered that Ben Kusin, a member of Spencer’s high school class, posted a Facebook missive on Friday denouncing Spencer and calling on alumni to donate to a local charity that supports humanitarian crises and refugee services.

“I, along with my fellow classmates, alumni and friends, have watched in horror as his radical ideologies and incitements of violence, racism and xenophobia have generated a tidal wave of global media attention,” Kusin wrote. “In this rapidly evolving process, he is managing to drag the good name of Dallas, its citizens and our schools through the mud.”

“On behalf of all those offended by his actions, The St. Mark's Class of 1997 has assembled a fundraiser to repudiate his actions and stand up against white supremacy,” he added.

The fundraising page makes clear that the campaign is an alumni activity and does not reflect the sentiment of St. Mark’s School. As of Friday evening, the effort had raised $23,000.

Spencer made national headlines this week when a video surfaced of him embracing Nazi language at a Washington, D.C. event. Spencer is scheduled to speak on the Texas A&M University campus next month. The university has said it played no role in inviting him, and that his views violate "our core values."

Efforts to reach Spencer over the holiday weekend were unsuccessful.

Kusin said his classmates were "floored" by Spencer's involvement in white nationalism, adding that St. Mark's grads are a politically diverse group and run the gamut from conservatives to Green Party members.

Kusin said that the initial goal was $5,000, but more money pours in by the hour.

“Our goal is the moon,” he said.

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