Tennessee student’s alt-right article roils Memphis campus

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A Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) march called “Here to Stand, Here to Stay” was held in Memphis after President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA program.
Yalonda M. James/The Commercial Appeal

A Rhodes College student’s article on an alt-right website drew sharp criticism on Friday from the president of the Memphis private liberal arts college.

In a message to colleagues and students, Rhodes President Marjorie Hass said “many of us were shocked to read a hate-filled essay written by a member of our community.”

“In my view, a good way to respond to bigoted or racist speech is with a vigorous reaffirmation of our positive values,” Hass wrote. “I encourage all of us to re-read the Rhodes College statement of vision and diversity. This is who we are. These are the ideals to which we aspire. These remain untouched and unbent.”

In an article dated Wednesday on AltRight.com, Rhodes student Nick Pietrangelo attacked hypocrisy among “liberal and anti-white” millennials after Rhodes’ senior class president and various student groups opposed the Trump administration’s end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, announced on Tuesday.

Read more: DACA in Memphis, City Council’s Confederate monument move and more

Related: Memphis immigrant students bury ‘dreams,’ protest end of DACA

Pietrangelo used arguments and language common among white nationalists and wrote that over the summer, he successfully introduced a fellow millennial to AltRight.com, a book by Louisiana white supremacist David Duke and videos by alt-right leader Richard Spencer.

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Supporters of DACA gathered outside of the Clifford Davis Federal Building in downtown Memphis to support the continuation of DACA, which gives young immigrants work permits, allowing them to avoid deportation.
Brad Vest/The Commercial Appeal

The Class of 2018 student summed up a response he delivered to Rhodes student leaders and campus groups he identified that oppose the Trump administration’s DACA decision, which included the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, Muslim Student Association, Black Student Association and South Asian Cultural Advocacy.

“Like the media, the millennials and social justice warriors will always posture and cry crocodile tears over issues like the DACA announcement,” Pietrangelo wrote.

“However, as I pointed out in my response, while their asinine views may be shared by the majority on college campuses and among the elites, millions of normal and hardworking White folks don’t give a damn about these “Dreamers” and instead harbor their own dreams of a society with free Whites, free of the troublesome burden of minorities.

“And one way or another, we will get what we want. Never forget that,” the article said.

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Pietrangelo, who has played college and high school soccer and was a National Merit Semifinalist who graduated from Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, could not be reached for comment in time for this story.

A spokesman for Rhodes, Matt Gerien, said the college could not release student information or comment on student disciplinary matters.

Kevin McKenzie can be reached at kevin.mckenzie@commercialappeal.com

 

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