And that’s exactly what we’re gonna do to them Aggies!
Monday night, Texas A&M University released a statement saying the university had canceled a campus event reservation held by Preston Wiginton. Wiginton helped organize white nationalist leader Richard Spencer’s campus visit late last year and promised Spencer would attend the upcoming rally scheduled for September 11.
This Richard Spencer:
Richard Spencer doesn’t think President Trump condemned his movement today. He called it “kumbaya” nonsense, & said Trump didn’t mean it.
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) August 14, 2017
The WaEx reported Monday:
“The event will be to protest the liberal anti-white agenda which includes white guilt which leads to white genocide,” Wiginton told The Battalion, Texas A&M’s student newspaper. “And the other purpose of the event will be to sponsor white identity and white pride in which white lives do matter. This is not an anti-brown event or anti-black event, this is an anti-liberal event.”
Amy Smith, Texas A&M’s executive vice president for marketing and communications, said Wiginton’s ideas were the antithesis of those held by the school, which previously hosted Spencer in December 2016.
“His views and those of the group he represents are counter to the core values of Texas A&M,” Smith told The Battalion. “While he has the right of free speech, so too do we have the right to refute those views and get on with the daily business of a world class university.”
Counter-protests are already being organized online to take place near Rudder Plaza on the school’s campus.
But Texas A&M University is having no part of it. Citing potential for student harm, disruption to the normal class day, and the fact that Wiginton hadn’t been invited or sponsored by any campus student organization, the university canceled the event reservation:
After consultation with law enforcement and considerable study, Texas A&M is cancelling 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.
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. With no university facilities afforded him, he chose instead to plan his event outdoors for September 11 at Rudder Plaza, in the middle of campus, during a school day, with a notification to the media under the headline “Today Charlottesville, Tomorrow Texas A&M.”
Linking the tragedy of Charlottesville with the Texas A&M event creates a major security risk on our campus. Additionally, the daylong event would provide disruption to our class schedules and to student, faculty and staff movement (both bus system and pedestrian).
Texas A&M’s support of the First Amendment and the freedom of speech cannot be questioned. On December 6, 2016 the university and law enforcement allowed the same speaker the opportunity to share his views, taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure a peaceful event. However, in this case, circumstances and information relating to the event have changed and the risks of threat to life and safety compel us to cancel the event.
Finally, the thoughts and prayers of Aggies here on campus and around the world are with those individuals affected by the tragedy in Charlottesville.
Just another reason I’m proud to be an Aggie.
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