Texas A&M Cancels ‘White Lives Matter’ Rally Scheduled for 9/11

The school says it canceled the event due to safety concerns and policy changes made after white nationalist Richard Spencer spoke back in December.

Texas A&M Cancels ‘White Lives Matter’ Rally Scheduled for 9/11

The new policy requires all third party speakers to be endorsed by a university-sanctioned group.

Texas A&M has canceled a ‘White Lives Matter’ protest, citing safety concerns and the school’s policy changes for hosting third party speakers.

An August 14 press release from the university stated, “After consultation with law enforcement and considerable study, Texas A&M is canceling the event scheduled by Preston Wiginton at Rudder Plaza on campus on September 11 because of concerns about the safety of its students, faculty, staff, and the public.”

The decision to cancel the scheduled September 11 event received both support and backlash from different groups.

Preston Wiginton, the event organizer, says it is a dangerous precedent to set and is violating his civil rights.

“What they’ve said is the first amendment doesn’t apply to white people,” says Wiginton. “We are in a new era of civil rights and it will be white people fighting for their rights.”

Texas A&M Student Body President Bobby Brooks says he is happy with the school’s decision and is glad that students can now come to campus without fearing white supremacists, reports The Battalion.

“Students have come from a multitude of backgrounds and sacrificed many things to attend Texas A&M, and they have the right to go to classes without fearing for their safety,” says Brooks. “White supremacy and the violence that has accompanied it are most certainly ‘Bad Bull.'”

Comparing to Charlottesville

The university’s announcement also cited a press release from Wiginton himself which was titled “Today Charlottesville, Tomorrow Texas A&M”. The university says linking the tragedy of Charlottesville to the scheduled event creates a major security risk to the campus.

Regarding the university’s concern for the safety of students, staff, and faculty, Wiginton said, “That’s why we have police. When black lives matter was here in November they rolled out the red carpet. But when white lives matter wants to come to A&M and express political concerns… we’re denied.”

Third Party Speaker Policy Changes at Texas A&M

Aside from the safety concerns, the university’s press release cited recent policy changes to third party guest speakers as another reason for canceling the event.

Last December, Richard Spencer, founder of the self-proclaimed “alt-right” movement, spoke at Texas A&M. Spencer is also the president of the National Policy Institute, which dubs itself as an “independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States.”

He was invited to the university by a former student who had rented out space on campus, reports NBC News.

Hundreds of people protested Spencer’s appearance, shouting, “No love for Nazis” and holding signs that read, “Aggies against alt-right”.

Law enforcement officers with riot gear removed protestors from the building and surrounding area where Spencer’s speech was being held.

Following the chaos and outrage that accompanied his appearance, Texas A&M changed its third party speaker policy to only host guests who are endorsed by a university-sanctioned group.

“Texas A&M changed its policy after December’s protests so that no outside individual or group could reserve campus facilities without the sponsorship of a university-sanctioned group. None of the 1200-plus campus organizations invited Preston Wiginton nor did they agree to sponsor his events in December 2016 or on September 11 of this year,” reads the statement.

Spencer to Speak at University of Florida

However, not all universities are canceling potentially controversial events.

Richard Spencer is scheduled to speak at the University of Florida on September 12, according to Orlando Weekly.

Spencer and his group rented out space at the school for the event. University regulations say non-university organizations can rent space on campus so long as they pay the rental and security fees.

Kent Fuchs, president of the University of Florida, released a statement emphasizing that the event is not affiliated with the university or any student-run organizations. He mentioned the recent Charlottesville events, calling them deplorable.

“While this speaker’s views do not align with our values as an institution, we must follow the law, upholding the First Amendment not to discriminate based on content and provide access to a public space,” said the statement.

A Facebook page titled “No Nazis at UF” has been created by protestors of Spencer’s event. The page says it plans to hold a rally on campus at 6 p.m. on September 12.

“We will share information and support any actions taken to not allow this event to take place,” reads the page. “However, so long as this event is still scheduled, we will be coordinating rides from across the state to protest the event and not allow a repeat of the recent events from UVA to happen here at the University of Florida.”

As for the canceled Texas A&M event, Wiginton plans to seek legal action against the school, citing a violation of his first amendment right.

About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy’s mother, brother, sister-in-law, and a handful of cousins are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, her 2 children and her dog.

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